Discouraging Results; a Worrisome Precedent

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For years, Suffield has worked at trying to build a community center in Suffield. As early as 1995, the town studied how this might be done. In 2002, the town created the Community Center Steering Committee, chaired at that time by Tim Reynolds, to plan and implement the construction of a new indoor recreational facility. Over time, committees were created, studies were made and proposals were presented to the town both in 2003 and then again in 2014, but nothing ever stuck until 2015, when the town finally voted to convert Bridge Street School to a community center. The expectation, of course, was that this project would see fruition. Many in town had waited and hoped for over 25 years to see the creation of a central place where young and old could come together for classes and meetings, with opportunities for social and physical activity and with the expectation that the benefits for the town, both spiritually as well as financially, would be met.

However, this was not to be. As a member of the group who has worked diligently for the past six years to get the community center project passed at referendum in 2015, and then later to push it towards completion, the referendum vote in late February 2020 to rescind the bonding for the project has been a frustrating and discouraging turn of events. This is not only because our plans for a community center seemed to be dashed, but also because when the referendum vote was made in November of 2015 to approve bonding for the conversion of Bridge Street School to a community center, there was an expectation that the vote would be honored as every other town referendum vote has been. The belief that the town would follow through with the plan, certainly the expectation of anyone who had voted to approve the project, was a given. That’s what a democratic vote means. Votes should matter. Should we expect that future referendum votes will be overturned? It should be a worrisome idea for anyone who supports democracy.

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