In the "deja vu" all over again category we see a story in The Advocate about the the Academy Building. This one has been brewing for some time. I have been hearing bits and pieces over the past several weeks about issues at the building.
What I hadn't been aware of until reading the story is the straw on the camel's back for this one was of all things a mannequin. Seriously. You just could not make this stuff up. If not liking how something looks entitles you to cover it up, I am going out now and buying up all the fabric I can find.
While the dressed up mannequin seems to be the impetus, reading between the lines so to speak one gets the impression the cast of characters is a tad more expansive. Mention of the Historical Commission, the Tourism Department, the Militia, the Historical Society and the unnamed in the article competing historical group should give you some insight as to the further dynamics involved. Let's not forget a selectman and/or the board thrown in there for good measure.
Now before I go on any further, the article does seem to indicate that after the tempest in a teapot at the latest Historical Commission meeting, the brew seems to have calmed down.
First and foremost, this is going to be one of those issues where our new TA is going to end up getting bogged down over the ridiculous. Why?
Because this flair up will not be the last to happen. Too many groups, too many personalities, too many competing interest involved. As long as any non-town entity is allowed to occupy that space, the occupancy would be considered a rental. Our waiting approval special act provides the TA will:
Manage and be responsible for the use, maintenance, security, and with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, regulate the rental for all the Town buildings, properties and facilitiesRent control for this particular issue will be subject to the approval of the Board of Selectmen. Won't get into the provision we adopted vs. what other communities have done. Suffice it to say this little gem is part of the 10% bad as far as I am concerned. The plus of this however is a definite relief of burden from the Historical Commission (this one is actually a Town entity). All the problems for taking care of the historical building are lifted off its shoulders. But I digress.
Everyone will run to the TA. The TA will be forced to deal with but not handle the problem without approval of the Selectmen. The Selectmen will have their hands in this one. The SNAFU will live on.
I am a bit confused about the revenue vs. appreciated point quoted in the paper. Not sure I understand. Most definitely sure at some point we will get a clarification. From one resident's point of view, I would like to add that I appreciate the Militia and the Tourism Department. So add at least one vote of appreciation into the plus column for those entities, okay?
How much revenue does the Tourism Department bring in? It is a question that I am asked every, single year. It is an operation that admittedly one cannot quantify the revenue generated with exactness, but rather must rely on studies and data generated for the industry. The revenue generated by the Militia? Maybe zero. Maybe a few bucks from the people who get a kick out of the encampments and cannon firing. Maybe a few of the people who travel into Town to see and observe such things actually stop at a business or two in town on the way in or out. But if you are going to discuss the review factor for these two groups, why not use that same factor for the Historical Society?
Seriously, that little blurb reads like a credit card commercial. Tourism -$$$; Militia - $$$?; Historical Society appreciation - priceless.
Here is the other priceless part of that: How many of those cultural events take place at the Academy Building?
And here is one that you can put the same revenue argument to: How much revenue has the Historical Society brought into Town?
It is time for the selectmen to stop acting as peacemakers and start acting as landlords. It is time to understand that public buildings, facilities and policy should be for public purpose accommodation first. Priorities should be Town needs and purposes first. Always.
Enough for today on this. We have had more than enough for the same perpetuity the Society feels its occupation is entitled to based on a twenty plus year old proclamation, too which I will add it has not lived up to its end of the bargain in my humble opinion.
Be safe. Because it seems that is about the only thing we the people actually have some control over anymore.