To the editor:
We are writing to alert the public to an unnecessary and disgraceful disregard of the environment and the overall natural beauty of land on Gregory Street, Middleton, and Dayton Street, Danvers, by the state DCAMM (Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance). For many months, the town of Middleton has been trying to get information from this state agency regarding its landscaping plans for the new Department of Youth Services facility, which will be built on the same site as the old building, also known as the Middleton Colony property.
We now know that the plan is to “clear cut” the very old, tall and graceful assortment of trees that serves as a buffer between the site and the rest of the world. “The trees will die anyway” was one of their justifications. (Yes, this was actually given as a reason by a state-hired landscape architect and an arborist!)
Those of you familiar with this stretch of open space know of its natural beauty. If the trees, be they the 70 or 80-foot-plus pine trees or the hemlocks, maples, spruce, etc., are leveled, the new institution to be built will be an assault to the senses, visible from 360 degrees, no matter how much money is poured into the building itself. One of the reasons the old buildings, while not beautiful, were inoffensive was that they could not be easily seen from the road.
It is shocking that in this age of supposed environmental awareness, the state would condone clear-cutting. Furthermore, those trees act as a sound buffer from the noise of the Danvers Fish and Game Club, which is across the Ipswich River behind the property. Where is there any regard for the local neighborhood? There are many people, both in Danvers and Middleton, who enjoy walking the trails and paths in the area. It goes without saying that this plan to clear cut, if it cannot be stopped, would have a negative effect on our neighborhood’s property values. No matter what happens, our neighborhood is sandwiched between the Middleton Correctional Facility and the to-be-rebuilt DYS Detention Center. Why make this a truly intolerable situation by cutting down the natural screen of trees surrounding the building?
Indeed, it is our opinion that the approach by DCAMM reflects an overall lack of planning across the board. This parcel of land is being treated as though nothing has changed in Middleton in 60 years. In other words, DCAMM is acting as though Middleton is in the country, in the middle of nowhere, as it probably felt not too long ago, instead of being one of the fastest-growing towns on the North Shore, if not the state.
We call upon anyone concerned about the environment, natural beauty, aesthetics and plain old fairness to speak out to our local and state officials about this impending travesty. Please contact the offices of Sen. Bruce Tarr and Reps. Ted Speliotis and Brad Jones, our legislative delegation, and ask for their continued assistance by attending the next, yet-to-be announced, meeting between the DCAMM officials and the town.