We had assumed the controversies over the design and erection of the pergola in the park had been put to rest at Town Meeting. Voters there defeated by more than two to one an amendment to a funding article to hold a public referendum on the pergola design. They also approved the article to fund the remainder of the construction work on the park.
Apparently some people didn’t get the message, or were still unsatisfied with the outcome. So they began a petition, which of course is their right under Vermont law.
What we find interesting is that the petition doesn’t directly address the aesthetics of the pergola. Instead it asks the town to merely “relocate the pergola … to a location outside the Wilmington historic district.”
Huh? Does that wording mean the drafters of the petition really like the pergola, just not where it’s at? Where would they like it: at the new Rite Aid, or at the school? Perhaps it should be relocated to the front yard of the petition’s originators? What is the ultimate goal?
We think the petition is simply ridiculous, and a waste of everyone’s time and energy. It doesn’t address the real issue, which is that there are many in town who don’t like the aesthetics of the design.
In fact, Kelly Kahler, one of the petition’s originators, says the aesthetics are not the reason for the petition. But rather, it’s a violation of the town’s own standards for the historic district in the village.
We say hogwash. If everyone in town agreed the pergola was perfect the way it is, would there still be a petition, even with the alleged zoning violations?
Of course not. So call a spade a spade, instead of trying to obfuscate the real reasons.
What we find amazing is that once again Wilmington as a community has to deal with revisionist politics. It seems to happen whenever there is an attempt at investment in the community. It doesn’t seem to matter if investment comes from the private sector, as in the cases of the new Rite Aid building or the demolition of the KreeMee stand for the Mobil station, or public investment, as in the cases of the bank park, road repairs, or Memorial Hall. Someone always stands up after the project is 99% complete and says they don’t like it.
What they don’t do is look in the mirror and say “where was I?” Did they go to the permit hearings? Did they review the plans? In the case of the park, where a public design contest was held, did they submit a plan of their own for the lot?
There are always opportunities to influence projects in the community. Things don’t happen overnight, especially when government is involved. It just drives us crazy when involvement comes after the fact.
Instead of continuing to rail against the pergola, we would like to see some positive energy. Get involved with the beautification committee, or the DRB. How about offering some assistance to spruce up a property?
We would also urge some patience. The park isn’t completed yet, and so many are trying to tear it apart. We still believe the overall park will be a wonderful addition to the village. If someone doesn’t like the pergola, that’s their opinion and they’re entitled to it. That opinion should be respected, just as those who like the pergola deserve respect.
What we don’t need is the continued waste of time and energy over it. Let the town finish the job, and let’s move on to something else.