Raise your voices on EBS
To the Editor:
I have watched with interest the last couple of months as the squeaky wheel has gotten the grease around here. The anti-dog park crowd made a lot of noise and blew a lot of smoke about a basketball court and got their way. Then the Savage brothers, with a ceaseless series of complaints, got their restaurant signs from Paul LePage.
Well, lesson learned. Rational discourse apparently gets you nowhere in Bethel – or at least not anywhere near where being a constant loud irritant will get you.
So I’m asking the Bethel Select Board to change tactics with its request to SAD 44 to turn over the Ethel Bisbee school property to the Town of Bethel. You tried a civil and polite request, fellas, and to date you have nothing to show for it. I urge you to raise your voices long and loud and demand the return of this property to the town. I see no earthly reason, save the jealous preservation of empire, for SAD 44 to retain the Bisbee School. I’ve heard “dead storage.” Really? I’ll bet nobody has looked for anything in that building in years; and if they have, I hope they wore a good breathing filter, because the place is full of asbestos. “Dead storage” is a dead excuse, especially in this day of cloud data storage and gigabyte hard drives.
The fact is Ethel Bisbee is a prime two-acre plot of land, centrally located, of immeasurable value to the Town of Bethel for any number of uses. It’s ours; we built it, we paid for it, we owned it once, and we should own it now. I’ll let my fellow townspeople hash out the best use of the property, but any number of possibilities come to mind: a dog park(!); a basketball court (on level land!); community tennis courts; a kids’ swimming pool; a playground; a community garden and park; and all and any other good uses my fellow citizens can come up with.
And one final note: Yes, I realize it will cost the town money to deal with asbestos abatement and demolish the building. But here’s a possibility: my wife and I, along with hundreds of other people, own $20 bricks with inscribed plates from the now-demolished grammar school we attended years ago; and the proceeds from those sales helped defray the cost of demolition. We could make similar mementos from Ethel Bisbee (and please, let’s not forget her – whatever we use the property for, let’s erect a sign honoring her memory).
All this can happen, my friends on the Select Board, if you come over to the side of incessant, loud, no-compromise demand toward SAD 44 and the School Board! Please man up!
(Note: SAD 44 refers to storage at EBS as "cold storage.")