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Partial Credit

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:51am

As a former state official, I understand the difficulties of running a state agency and therefore like to give credit where credit is due. This post is to award "partial credit" to the DCR, the state agency that runs the parks.

We had a big snowstorm on the weekend, but this is not unusual in New England. So you would think that the various agencies would be prepared to clear major walkways on public lands, particularly those walkways that lead to major mass transit stations. Not so. My particular T stop is Longwood, which serves thousands of people going to work at hospitals, school, and other institutions -- not to mention patients. A major passageway from the Longwood stop to the medical and academic area is a short walk through a park and across the Muddy River.

As late as yesterday, the walkway was a sheet of ice several inches thick. There had been no effort to clear it or to spread sand on it. It was treacherous.

So, today, I brought a camera to document this condition and send it along to the authorities and -- lo and behold -- the walkway has been plowed and sand laid down. The steps up the little bridge across the Muddy River likewise have been totally cleaned. The pictures above attest to this result.

So, that is the good news. The bad news is that it took so long. Partial credit awarded.

The new Commissioner of the DCR is Rick Sullivan, who used to be mayor of Westfield, MA. He is an honorable, hard-working, and competent person who understands the importance of proper and timely delivery of municipal services. Like his predecessors, though, he is hamstrung by inadequate budgets and, I am guessing, antiquated equipment. I think he is doing the best he can, but until and unless the public puts more pressure on their elected representatives for more adequate funding, the state park system will always be behind -- just as it was this week.
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