I write in full support of the efforts underway to transform the existing Beal School property into a new opportunity to revitalize the center of town.
My family and I have been fortunate to call Shrewsbury home and have enjoyed the quality of life afforded us as residents of nearby Colton Lane. Our children attended Beal, and I regularly run past the Veterans’ Monument in front of the school and think about those in the community who sacrificed for us. We enjoy walking over to Amici’s to pick up a pizza or enjoy a beverage. And, of course, the Town Common is a regular gathering place for neighbors. With the library located there as well, we feel fortunate to live within walking distance of all these venues!
Unfortunately, over many years we have watched businesses and storefronts on Maple Avenue and Main Street become abandoned and fall into disrepair. It is disappointing and disheartening to walk by empty buildings and weed strewn lots. We can do better, and the proposed Beal redevelopment gives me hope and can be the catalyst for positive economic stimulus and growth on Maple Avenue and Main Street.
This community needs a special project, like what has been proposed for the Beal parcel, to create opportunities in the Town Center. It is exactly what is needed to bring life and economic and civic activity into the area. Yes, we have to be mindful about parking, traffic and the number of units; and I trust this planning process which continues to be fair, thoughtful, and transparent.
There are some who prefer that Shrewsbury not move forward or that we just leave things the way they are. I’d just ask those folks to wander about the town center and ask themselves if empty storefronts and neglected buildings are acceptable. We can do better. We can improve the town center, and the proposed Beal redevelopment is a practical, creative, and much needed boost to the entire community, especially the town center. Let’s get going.
Daniel E. Gutekanst