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Path of Diminishing Return

Published March 20, 2019

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I am in agreement with the issues raised here by the letters of Phil Boeding [“Undefined Aspirational Need,” March 5] and Arthur Symonds [“The Path of Compromise,” Feb. 28] concerning efforts to convert the Academy School for use as a community center. In Madison, we have many well-meaning residents who, I feel, reflexively desire available open space to be converted for public purposes but do not adequately consider the present and future costs to taxpayers of such uses. Perhaps for them cost is no issue. However, the reality is that we are faced with declining school population and those associated maintenance and surplus building issues that have been well covered by The Source. Moreover, while no one can say at this time what further burdens state government will place on the town now and in future, make no mistake, there will be added burdens.

This comes to my mind whenever I pass Salt Meadow Park on the Post Road and see that invariably almost-empty parking area. We missed an opportunity to make significant additions to the tax base there and it seems we are about to make the same mistake again with Academy School, with the added bonus of all those future maintenance and construction costs. Madison is on a path of diminishing return wherein our excellent schools turn out excellent graduates who will improve other places because they will not be able to afford to live here.

Donald Fisher