Courier-Gazette Letters to the Editor April 8

Apr 09, 2021

Keep the park public

Lynn Archer/Brass Compass has made a request to the Rockland City Council to take over a third of Winslow Holbrook Park to increase the floor space of her business, at no cost benefit to the city.

In the past, for $1600 for five months, Ms. Archer has leased a 10-by-20 foot section of the park, with the stipulation that her tables always be available to the public. She is now requesting exclusive use (meaning the public can no longer use the tables) and twice that space for free.

At no time in the history of this park has any of it been closed to the public. Her request entails denying admittance to this portion of Winslow Holbrook Memorial Veterans to the public, and especially to veterans in an effort to improve personal profit.

Many locals suffered financially this year. This is a perfect spot for a young family to get out, take a walk downtown and enjoy the outdoors without having to pay. Local downtown workers would have a place to have take-out or bag lunch, or just relax.

Not only restaurants and businesses benefit from this arrangement, this beautiful little park gives the public additional outside space.

An alternative to giving away valuable public property would be to have the city place small café tables in Winslow Holbrook Park for everyone to use. I have, for several years, offered to provide these tables and that offer is still available.

To place city tables in the park would be helpful to all downtown restaurants who do not have outside space. The Brass Compass is one of the fortunate restaurants that already has an outside seating area.

In 1918, the city named the corner of Park and Main Street as Winslow Holbrook Square, in honor of the first two men from Rockland to die in World War 1. The American Legion in Rockland is also named for these two young men: Private Arthur Winslow and Second Lieutenant Albert Holbrook.

This park should remain open to the public as a tribute to the sacrifices made by veterans and their families. It has been paid for and cared for by Rockland taxpayers and maintained by the volunteers in the Rockland Garden Group and me.

Now, more than ever, city residents and visitors need outside spaces they can use. The Winslow Holbrook Memorial Veterans Park belongs to the city. It is a tiny oasis on Main Street because the city, volunteers and taxpayers contribute to make it that way. It should remain open to the public.

It has been a rough year for all of us. I don't think the City Council should be giving away city property.

Gaye Best


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Comments (3)
Posted by: Stacie Wogalter | Apr 13, 2021 09:45

I agree with Gaye. My mother, Averie (Eaton) Stinson purchased the original Winslow Holbrook Square sign at a local auction a few years before her death in 2010. Her mother's brother was Private Arthur Winslow. Imagine her shock at seeing the sign at an auction house. She was livid! Remember how many years the sign was missing? Remember that Rockland City Council declared the Square a park in 2009 but there was no memorial other than one marker on the ground? Averie's opinion was that previous City Council's had forgotten the 2 young men who had answered their country's call to stand up and fight for freedom in WWI. Private Arthur Winslow was a teenager when he died in battle. A teenager! He was a real live kid, not an historical footnote, who sacrificed his love for his Mom and Dad, sisters, brothers, his future, his life for America's call. His family was devastated. Proud but absolutely devastated. His sister, Annie (Winslow) Eaton named her first son, Arthur, in his memory. The Square represents SACRIFICE for FREEDOM not sacrifice for money.  It should remain free.


Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Apr 12, 2021 08:17

Well now that we've heard from the Lynn Archer fan club, I think it's time we all question the assertions brought forth in this "letter to the editor.  First I would be very surprised if Lynn was asking for practical ownership of the park and would wish to "prohibit" the public from accesss to a "public" park.  I am quite certain that even if this was the request it would certainly be denied by the City.  It is true that Rockland downtown businesses who have requested more outdoor seating space are being provided space "where available" .  This is "public" space  pedrestrians and shoppers are permitted to use this as well. There are many within the City looking to work with our restaurants to provide more pesdrian friendly outdoor spaces, but it seems to be an uphill ffight all the way.

Posted by: Debra Damon | Apr 11, 2021 07:09

Gaye Best how many people go sit in that park for the reasons you state? Lynn Archer has added to that area since she has had the Brass Compass. There is no loudness there when people are outside eating. All other restaurants had FREE seating outside their restaurants last year. I'm curious as to why the Town of Rocklamd charges Lynn Archer $1,600 when all other businesses have it for free. She pays taxes for two businesses in Rockland and should have the same consideration as the other businesses get. Further more those stupid cement blocks were put in front of her restaurants where delivery trucks could not stop safely to deliver. I think it would be a delight for Lynn to have tables there and I bet if the planning board in Rockland worked WITH her instead of AGAINST her all the time that she would put a couple of benches out there where other people could sit. I am so glad I don't have a business in Rockland because of people like you who are so Negative!!! Lynn and Crew work hard towards being kind to people who come to her restaurants to eat and Dine. I do hope that the Rockland planning board rethinks their plans of about Main Street and that they talk to every business owner on Rockland Main Street before making another mistake in the way they set up Main Street during the summer. Ask for everyone's opinion instead of a select few.

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