chris gittins for selectman

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Local issue: Funding of Springs Brook Park

There was a fairly length discussion of Springs Brook Park's budget at the 1/22 Selectmen's meeting. (There are links below to a Bedford Citizen article summarizing the discussion as well as video of the Selectmen's meeting.) The essence of the discussion was, Is Springs Brook Park worth it? I believe it is. Springs Brook Park is a public good. During the discussion there were repeated references to Town "subsidizing" Springs Brook Park. That's not how I see it. SBP isn't a business. Funds spent on SBP aren't a subsidy any more than funds spent on the Police Dept, the Fire Dept, our schools, the library, and clearing the roads are subsidies for those things. The money we spend on SBP maintains a public good. We invest in public goods because they improve our quality of life, build connections with our neighbors, bring us happiness and make our community strong. Our financial resources are finite and we have an obligation to allocate them equitably, use them efficiently, and be transparent with how we spend them but the merits of Springs Brook Park are independent of whether it would work as a business proposition. All kids should have a place they can go to swim, hang out with their friends, and take swimming lessons in the summer. Springs Brook Park is our park. Let's support it as one of Bedford's public goods.

» Link to Bedford Citizen article
» Video of 1/22/2019 Selectmen’s meeting – Springs Brook Park discussion starts at the 1 hr 12 min mark:

Over-Parking Lot Solar Panels Produce Clean Electricity for Town Buildings

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resiliency to climate change, and improving energy efficiency are core issues for me. I was very happy to learn at the Energy and Sustainability Committee meeting several weeks ago that Town will be installing six EV charging stations. (I need to check my notes but I believe 4 will be at Town Hall.) Town has a lot of opportunities increase the use of renewable energy and reduce GHG emissions. For example, Wayland installed solar panels above parking lots above their High School, Middle School, and Town Building a few years ago. I think installing solar panels above Bedford's town-owned parking lots is an excellent idea. What do you think?

Making Bedford More Walkable and Bikable

One of my favorite blogs is Strong Towns. I come away from almost every post thinking "How could we apply that here?" about at least a couple ideas the author presents. Their recent post, How the Modest Walk Can Connect You To Your Community, and the associated podcast remind me of our Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan. (I think it was my wife who clued me in to the Bike and Ped Master Plan when she was a member of the Transportation Advisory Committee.) As a Selectman, I'd be an advocate for implementing its infrastructure recommendations. Making town more walkable and bikable will improve our quality of life by improving connections between neighbors and, hopefully, reducing local traffic. That and it's just nice talk with the people you run into and to appreciate nature when you're out on foot or on bike.

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