Letter: Opinions continue to rule the day in North Smithfield

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Opinions continue to rule the day in North Smithfield, much to our detriment.  In contrast, I offer a few facts as we dive into 2024:

* We have no definitive proof of where the PFAS-contamination of any wells at the North Smithfield High School and Middle School complex came from. Was it the turf installed on Veterans Memorial Stadium field back in 2008 or so (that has) since (been) replaced with new?  We don’t know, so we propagate fear – although there is also no definitive proof that the solar panels proposed to be installed at the Veterans Memorial Stadium parking lot could contaminate our water supply.

* The state of Massachusetts – consistently ranked near the top nationally in public education – is installing/has installed solar canopies at a multitude of public schools, including in the cities/towns of Mendon, Medway, Medfield, Natick, Beverly, Worcester, Lincoln-Sudbury, Sharon, Wellesley, multiple schools on Cape Cod, and as well at UMass and many, many more.

* The state of California, long considered an environmental leader, is in the process of installing solar panels/canopies over the canals that supply water to much of the state.

* The town of North Smithfield has seen exactly two out-of-the-ground new construction projects in the 23 years we have lived here, and I am proud to have publicly supported both: NSMS and the bathrooms/concession stand at VMS.  

And we aren’t going to see many more improvements anytime soon, as opinions unfortunately persist in outweighing facts here in North Smithfield. So in rebuttal to many opinions, here are mine:

* The “deal” with Green Development to construct the bathrooms/concession stand at VMS was a big plus for the school department/town, and I firmly believe – as I did monitor the construction process closely – a value worth significantly more than the $285,000 we would have received from Green Development otherwise.

* Green Development basically offered to expand the VMS parking lot at no cost to NS taxpayers, with the inclusion of a solar array that they would own, manage and profit from. We didn’t take the offer, instead opting to also look at parking lot expansion-only, with no solar installation. Evidently that is quite costly, so once again, it appears we will get nothing, unless the improvement is now funded by taxpayers, because opinions scared-off our leadership. “Let ’em walk from the high school, I did,” (is,) sadly a popular NS refrain and mindset.  

* We are a town largely devoid of significant progress. See the crumbling buildings still standing at Halliwell; the old, tired school masquerading as a police station; the entrance/exit to Pacheco Park still unimproved since the purchase of adjacent property to enable just that, now more than four years ago; I could go on…

* I firmly believe Green Development – much like the respected Lisa Andoscia – has said, “enough with NS,” considering – as Lisa Andoscia stated – the seemingly ubiquitous, “political crossfire and…lack of synergy among elected officials,” not to mention the opinions that hold us back.

2024 is to be a year of progress?  Not in my opinion.

Tony Guertin

North Smithfield

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Oh dear God Tony, please stop! You lost on both the police station bond and solar canopies… take the fight elsewhere…no amount of bellyaching or reinstatement of your facts on solar canopies will make the vast majority of educated members of the school committee believe that this was the right thing to do. Please do not equate MA test scores and educational accomplishment to the fact that solar canopies are being installed in various systems. MA has been instituting MCAS for many, many years. They are #1 in education in the country and we are last in New England. We do have PFAS, they are in the water and we are in remediation mode. But please, do not let that dissuade you. Oh and by the way, Green Development would have been “free,” but then when they could not bypass zoning as per procedure, it cost $350,000.00…Most of us were not born yesterday….again, Lisa Andoscia, seriously? Someone you know well gets us into these jams and the vast majority understand that town government should not function in a, “I know a guy fashion.”

  2. How is what Tony said “political propaganda” or being a “habitual contributor to the political crossfire”? He was spot on with his facts. Whether Green Development would’ve made money on the solar canopy is irrelevant they were willing to put a much needed parking lot in with no cost to the town. Do you really think all these green states would have them installed at schools and state universities if they were a danger. Honestly are either of these commentators real people or the same person using a fake name.

  3. Again more political propaganda from Tony Guertin. Tony fails again to understand that Green Development is a company only out for profit (aka greed) at the expense of the taxpayers of North Smithfield. What the letter fails to understand is the fact that the town has raised taxes in the last several years and the services have gotten worse but we continue to worry about football fields, concession stands, and parking lots. Tony why don’t you focus your efforts on education which is lacking, and road repairs instead of sports. Tony just a small fact, at one of the Varsity football games this year the concision stand was not even open and is usually not open for other team events. Also correct me if I am wrong but would the tax revenue from Green Development been a recurring annual revenue.

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