Vol. IV No. 13 7/1/2023
Editorial: How About If We Don't Do That?
On the Stockbridge Community Board, one image followed the other. The first was an idyllic picture of Stockbridge Bowl. The second was text which ended, "if you are experiencing financial challenges related to keeping your home, heating your home, or paying for the water you use in your home, please reach out." That, in two clicks, is the strange truth about Stockbridge — need lives next door to wealth and beauty. We must recognize, acknowledge, and serve both.
All around the Berkshires, we see overbuilding killing Berkshire charm. Berkshire charm was never gratuitous but was always central to our economy, so...how about if we don't do that?
A deer risked life and limb to dart across a busy street. A flash of red against the darkening sky as a red fox flew by in pursuit of food. We are taking their habitat and leaving them nothing, so...how about if we don't do that?
We need families that have been here three hundred years to be able to stay here three hundred more. If we buy up every less expensive home to turn it into a B&B or tear it down to build a mansion, nothing will be left for ordinary man or wild beast, so...how about if we don't do that?
We need it all — the wealth, beauty, open space, low density, and affordable housing — not one at the expense of the other. Since all development is a tradeoff, that is a high wire act for the steady, sure-footed, and serious-minded. It is not for the glib, impatient, or selfish.
In other destinations, so much luxury housing was built that there was no place for those who cut the lawns, cleaned the houses, fought crime and fire, tended, and taught the children. In season, those towns allowed tent cities to house the workers...how about if we don't do that?
Helping those who earn less to stay in their homes and rent in our town, even if it costs others more, is not unfair...how about if we don't call it that? How about if we call it neighbors helping neighbors. How about if we call it community?
My Granny said, "If you bend a little it will help a lot because the trees all know what the man forgot."
Let's have a community where we can all mix and mingle. It is a high wire act — not for the faint hearted — but it is doable if that is what we concentrate on doing.
Photo: Patrick White