Beautification committee members are set to move forward with a plan to pave the access ramp and the circular “bandstand” area. The committee plans to fund the project by selling inscribed pavers that will be installed on the ramp.
For $100, park supporters can have up to three lines inscribed on a brick. “We’d like to encourage people to stick to two lines, since it leaves the whole thing looking less cluttered,” said committee member Fred Skwirut. “If you get three lines of text and fill it completely, it looks like a page from Time magazine.”
Although many of the inscriptions are likely to be memorials, Skwirut said the committee hopes to discourage people from inscribing the bricks with “In memory of” after visiting other locations where the bricks have been installed. “We’ve been to a lot of parks and seen a lot of bricks,” Skwirut said. “We looked at one place in Keene where the bricks are just inscribed with names. They said they wanted it to be a happy place.”
The letters, which will be in a three-quarter-inch Helvetica font, will be filled with epoxy, which committee members say will keep out dirt and grime and, more important, protect the inscriptions from damage by freezing water.
It will take as many as 263 bricks to pave the ramp, but committee members said they want to maintain a ratio of blank bricks to bricks with inscriptions so that the ramp doesn’t look cluttered. “We don’t know what the response is going to be,” said committee chair Lee Schindel, “but there is going to be room for only 140 of the bricks.
The cost of purchasing and installing the brick ramp would be about $5,136, according to the committee’s estimate, and the cost of paving the “bandstand” area would be about $3,000 – a total of just over $8,000. “If we sell 100 bricks, that will bring in $10,000,” Skwirut told board members. “If we sell 140, that’s $14,000. With the extra money we could upgrade the lighting and take care of any of the ongoing maintenance.”
Schindel said she thought that, if there is enough demand for the inscribed bricks, the committee could sell as many as 160 “without it looking too cluttered.” She said the committee hadn’t decided on a firm proposal for paving the “bandstand” area, but they have considered using larger cement or natural stone pavers. Responding to a question from board member Susan Haughwout, Schindel said the committee has considered whether to put the inscribed pavers in the circular area. “We’ve given it a lot of thought,” she said. “Some committee members felt that maybe we shouldn’t have them in that area, and prefer that we put something aesthetically fitting in there. But we haven’t made any decision.”
The committee hopes to start taking orders for the inscribed bricks sometime this summer, in time for Old Home Week.
In other matters, the board heard from Wilmington resident Dan Freilich, who is challenging Patrick Leahy for the Democratic Party senatorial nomination in the August primary. Freilich, who is a medical doctor and researcher as well as a naval officer, said he has voted for Leahy and considers him to be a “good and honorable man who has served this state.” But he said the senator, and the Senate, have not been addressing the issues that are important to Americans, and Vermonters.
“There are significant issues that aren’t being addressed,” he said. “A sense of fair play and of having a level playing field has been lost in this country over the last few decades. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle class is disappearing. Congress has been coming up with the laws that have resulted in this incredible transfer of wealth.”
Freilich noted that the average CEO used to earn about 50 times more than the average employee. “Now that’s about 300 to one,” he said. “And we always had a fair and progressive tax bracket with a tax rate of 70% to 90% at the highest income brackets. That went away under Reagan.”
While prices have continued to rise over the last 35 years, Freilich said, the average wage has stagnated to a point where it takes two income earners to make what one person did three decades ago. “Income has doubled over the last 30 years, but we’ve doubled the number of workers,” he said. “An individual’s wage hasn’t changed.”
On the campaign trail, Freilich said, he has been disappointed to find that some people assume that he, or any politician, has an ulterior motive in running for office. “I truly believe politics doesn’t have to have a bad name,” he said. “During my 13 years in the Navy, I learned there is such a thing as service for the sake of service. The people I met, and the morality and ethics required was built in. They didn’t have to campaign on it, and it’s almost embarrassing to have to do it.”
Haughwout asked Freilich if he was in favor of expanding nuclear power to reduce dependence on foreign oil. “I’m completely against it,” he said. “I don’t see that it is logical in 2010 to say we need to get off carbon and the way to do it is to pick this approach that has storage issues which are indefinite.”
Haughwout also asked Freilich if he would be willing to consider cuts to social spending to balance the budget. “I think the Democrats and Republicans need to sit in the same room and be open-minded. Democrats need to be willing to agree to cuts, and Republicans need to be willing to agree to tax increases. The system doesn’t work, even the stereotypical welfare mom will tell you that.”