Lost in the personal and political attacks surrounding the Lowry and Spruces debates is the fact that residents of The Spruces and our town are being offered choices, not a mandate.
At our meeting with Spruces residents on Nov. 13, four options were described:
1) The residents can choose to stick with Morgan Man agement. Morgan has said the park is not economically viable with fewer than 85 percent of the prior 225 units. Presently, the park is at 30 percent.
2) Morgan may elect to sell the park to someone other than the town, and the residents can choose the new owner. One local park owner has approached me, and I encouraged him to contact Morgan directly about purchasing the park.
3) The residents can form a cooperative to purchase the park. The residents have a legal right of first refusal, and the town is working with the Attorney General to respect and preserve that right.
4) The residents can partner with the town to determine their own future. We can design and create new affordable homes on higher ground out of harm's way. No one in town government is taking away the residents' rights or their freedom of choice.
Town residents also have a choice to make. For decades, the town has struggled to find sites and money for desperately needed affordable housing. Lowry is not a new idea. The FEMA grant is a once-in-a-lifetime $3,000,000 opportunity to create a community within our town. The next time The Spruces floods, the grant opportunity will be less than $900,000 -- not enough money to do much of anything. Williamstown's most valuable and most endangered species are human beings.
Town Manager Peter Fohlin