Sunday, July 26, 2015

Brunswick’s Gaga Ladies and the Romance of The Rails….

(Editor’s note: cumbersome as it may be, we ask readers to understand the term “Lady” and “Prince” to have both singular and plural meanings in our story.  The indefinite nature of each, and a way to express it would detract, we fear, from the telling of the tale.)

Herewith an allegory for Brunswick.  The story has had an inconceivable conception, complicated gestation, and problematic delivery.  As you’ll hear in our telling, if you stay with us until the end (of this tale, that is.)  We’re hoping to stop our troubled pacing over it all, and move on to other things.




Remember the movie Romancing the Stone?  That’s what came to mind as we first thought about this post.  We decided that whether we played off that theme or not, ‘romancing’ should have a leading role in our story.

Here we are then, with a love tale of sorts, symbolic yet all too real, in three parts: the romancing and courtship; the proposal and wedding; and finally, the wandering eyes and broken vows that signal failure of the union, and steadfast denial of the truth.

                   Ladies of Brunswick

Our story revolves around Ladys of Brunswick, the beguiling beauties who we sometimes use to symbolize looking for love in all the wrong places.  They have a penchant for going gaga over the ministrations of various Prince Charmings, of whom there are plenty vying for their attention.



                            

Sounds exciting and spellbinding, doesn’t it?  And it might be so, if their swooning was fictional, instead of all too real in the sense of long-term consequences for those who must pay the price of their ill-considered dalliances.

Bare with us as we sit around the proverbial camp-fire and tell our story.

The Romancing and Courtship:


It all begins when Lady Brunswick hearing of a wandering Prince Charming seeking fair damsel to impress with great and glorious promises.  Not wanting to reveal his plans too early, and become plighted only because of these proposals, the Prince disguised himself as a Knight of community economic benefit.  Should fair damsels show interest, the Prince would ride in triumphantly upon the great steel steed called Amtrak, and sweep them into his arms.

The Prince first visited town with wondrous tales of glories to come.  Encouraged by the damsel’s fluttering eyebrows and outreached hands, he continues to beguile the ladies with his charms.

He cites the learned works of various expert professionals who promise economic ecstasy if only all will succumb to his temptations…..such as these glorious projections for the year 2015 A.D.:

     image

and this as well….both from EDRG MDOT Study 2005:

EDRG 2005 MDOT Study snip 1

Sensing hearts a-twitter, the Prince offers further enticements of even greater economic glory from legendary wizards of TOD from far yonder lands, for generations yet to come (CNT AmtrakDowneasterOverviewofProjectedEconomicImpacts2.pdf):

CNT-NNEPRA 2008 Snip 4

…and this, which causes fainting spells among fair damsels….

CNT-NNEPRA 2008 Snip 3

The Proposal and Wedding:

The Lady of Brunswick, completely Gaga over these oaths of great blessings upon the community, convinces town fathers to gather up her dowry in preparation for offering to the Prince, whose charms have left her in his thrall.

Heart palpitating, the swooning Lady beseeches Prince Charming to show himself, and he does, aboard the great steel steed from lands to the south.



The Prince ask for the Lady’s hand with a prodigious proposal:



It includes housing for the court of the Lady:

image

Soon enough, the dowry is announced (http://www.greatamericanstations.com/Stations/BRK…)
In 2006, the Brunswick Town Council accepted a master plan recommending redevelopment by a private entity, and the following year, JHR Development was selected to lead the project. According to the conditions for development, 1,200 square feet had to be reserved for a future train station.
The project was divided into three parts. Phase I, which included the Bowdoin College Store and the building containing the Visitors Center, offices and retail, began construction in winter 2008. They were finished and occupied by fall 2009. Station Avenue, connecting Maine and Union Streets, was also cut through the site south of the proposed buildings. Phase II began in fall 2010 when ground was broken for the 52-room Inn at Brunswick Station. An office building was also constructed, and both projects were open by late summer 2011. Phase III will consist of a residential building with office and retail space on the ground floor. All of the buildings echo traditional New England architecture through the use of clapboard, shingles, multi-light windows and gables. Through a property exchange with Bowdoin College, the town plans to consolidate its administrative offices in an existing building directly southwest of Brunswick Station.
As of early 2012, public funding for Brunswick Station amounted to approximately $5.2 million obtained from the following sources: $750,000 through the EPA Brownfields Program; $902,500 from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce; $300,000 in Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; $350,000 from Maine’s Municipal Investment Trust Fund, established by the state legislature to provide financial assistance for the design, construction and improvement of public service infrastructure and downtown renewal projects; $2.25 million in municipal bonds; and $668,594 expended by the town to acquire the property. The town government estimates that these public funds have leveraged more than $25 million in private investment by the developer.
Satisfied that he will prosper from the generosity of the fathers, the Prince prepares his proposal for Lady Brunswick.  And it is beyond everyone’s wildest imagining; the marriage is arranged and takes place.   All appears blissful.

image

Sadly, neither the Lady nor the town fathers insisted upon pre-nuptial agreements.  How could they, when it might risk bestowal of such wealth and blessing upon their ancient and humble village?  Lacking such assurances, none seemed to notice the breaking of the vow professed in June 2011 (http://mssbrunswickme.blogspot.com/):
Planning for Phase III, a 16-unit condominium complex (Noble Street), is underway. The condos will feature one-floor living in a secure building with easy access to beautiful downtown Brunswick. Call now to reserve and design your unit!
For more information, please call Mike Lyne at 207-729-0166 or visit http://www.brunswick-station.com/.
image

Nor that three of the initial tenants (four, if you include Best Buy), couldn’t survive the extreme public demand for their offerings.

When romance is in the air, such trivial details get lost in the euphoria of great economic benefit wherever one looks.  ‘Rail’ spelled backwards is liar it turns out, but no once seems to notice.  Just as backwards parking spaces, evident in the plans above, have been forgotten.

The Wandering Eyes and Broken Vows:

While others may not have noticed, your correspondent was rocked back on his proverbial heels when we came across this recent news item, published here:
Five condominium buildings are proposed along the Kennebec River in Bath, on the site of the historic and vacant "Coal Pocket" property.
By Alex Lear, The Forecaster
Posted June 17, 2015, at 3:07 p.m.
Last modified June 17, 2015, at 10:29 p.m.

BATH, Maine — The Bath Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously approved the development of five condominium buildings along the Kennebec River, on the vacant site of the historic “Coal Pocket” property.

JHR Development — which has projects that include Brunswick Station and the Mid Coast Medical Group center at 108 Centre St. — received site plan, developmental subdivision and historic district approvals for the project.
Forty condominiums will be developed in five buildings of eight units each, according to a June 11 memo from planning director Andrew Deci to the planning board. The first floors will have interior parking. Two buildings will have frontage on Front Street, and two on Commercial Street, while one will be between a Sewall oil company building and the riverfront.
Observant as we are, this report caused us to become even more sensitive to local circumstances than we normally are.  So we’re going to bring this discussion to a conclusion with a ‘photographic essay’ that makes our larger point more poignantly than any words we might choose.
 
Feast your eyes, then, upon these signs of ‘great economic benefit,’ wherever you might look:

DSCN0566DSCN0580DSCN0586DSCN0585DSCN0584DSCN0583DSCN0582DSCN0581DSCN0579DSCN0578DSCN0577DSCN0576DSCN0575DSCN0574DSCN0573DSCN0572DSCN0571DSCN0570DSCN0569DSCN0568DSCN0567
DSCN0547 DSCN0548
DSCN0551 DSCN0544

As much as the world, and in particular, Brunswick’s symbolic Lady Gaga, love happy endings, we don’t appear to have one here, do we?  Some ladies can be so Gaga they never admit the Prince has jilted them for another (or is it tilted?)


        

Like most things in our perfect little town, though, it really doesn’t matter.  Because the proof is in the pudding, not in the poetic imagery of the recipe, or the fanciful garb of the chefs.

The question we’re left to ponder is what the real ending to the story will be.


1 comment:

  1. History repeats itself. The myth-propagators and their lapdog consultants are now here in NH, preying on the ignorant, the gullible, the misinformed and the ever-hopeful that history, just this once, will NOT repeat itself.

    http://www.concordmonitor.com/home/14870972-95/my-turn-its-time-to-invest-in-states-future-with-passenger-rail

    http://www.concordmonitor.com/home/14968659-95/my-turn-passenger-rail-advocates-oversell-economic-benefits

    ReplyDelete