If the Town votes to preserve the Green, modest maintenance costs will not be affected — I am happy to donate a couple of sheep if keeping the grass cut ever becomes an issue. More seriously, there are many opportunities for the Green to pay its own way as a park, especially as a means to “market” Thomaston as an attractive place to live and work. For now, I have several questions for the Select Board:

· Why did no one on the Select Board have the courtesy to inform members of the Friends of the Thomaston Green group the Select board was submitting a counter-proposal to the Friends’ ballot initiative?

· Why do most votes by the Select Board result in a clique-ish 5 to 0 for or against articles and agenda items? Do Select Board members meet or discuss votes prior to their meetings? Should local papers begin to file FOIA requests in order to understand how Thomaston’s Select Board is nearly always in unanimous agreement on any given policy issue, including the Thomaston Green?

· Was the warrant counter-Article for the Green developed in secret in “Executive Session?” It is my understanding executive sessions are primarily meant to provide confidentiality for personnel matters — i.e. hiring and firing and/or negotiations for approved budgetary expenditures (i.e. vendor bidding) — and not for policy decisions affecting the entire Town?

· Why is the Select Board unalterably opposed to seeing the Green preserved, initially as open space, and possibly for future development — as private and public grant funding becomes available — as a multi-functional park serving all Thomaston residents?

· My fundamental question to the Select Board is: Why can’t Thomaston residents have a real park, or at least preserve the existing open space for a future generation, to decide what’s best for everyone? Yes, the Town has several small and under-developed “pocket parks” scattered among residential neighborhoods. And there is a popular, well-used forest trail. But nowhere in Town is there a large open space — other than school parking lots — where the entire community can come together or gather for special events and community-wide celebrations, such as Thomaston’s traditional Fourth of July festivities. The Green is a spectacular and unique community asset. It needs to be celebrated and preserved.

Yes, I am deeply disappointed by the short-sightedness of our elected representatives. At the very least I might have expected those with differing views about how the Green can best serves our community to sit down with those of us offering an alternative vision. Instead, we are greeted with a behind-closed-doors anti-park ballot question undermining a volunteer citizen initiative to create a new centrally located park for the entire Town to use.

The citizens who knocked on doors in the dead of winter in the midst of a deadly pandemic — in order to petition the right to vote for (or against) preserving the Green — deserve better. We do not wish to restrict anything other than limitations on how the Green can realize its highest, best use as a public park benefiting everyone — children, parents, grandparents, homeowners, business owners, renters, dog walkers, joggers, couples-sitting-on-a-bench, watching the sun set over the St. George River.

Should good and common sense prevail, the Green can be Thomaston’s green gateway, preserved to welcome and serve the entire community, to ensure Thomaston’s historic character and to provide “space” for new, undreamt possibilities.

Chris Crosman