Submitted by Erin Sandler-Rathe
Margaret Donovan once again wants to stop the fire station project. You’ve probably seen some of her efforts already. She’s promising more with a booth at Bedford Day, her Save Our Block project, and her intention to introduce articles at Town Meeting. As you hear her, I encourage you to equally weigh the information provided by the Town throughout this process.
Over the next several months, you will hear her and her supporters argue many things. For example, you will hear that a full search was never done for appropriate sites — that is false. The Town website shows all the sites that have been considered over the years. Properties have been deemed unsuitable due to a variety of factors: meeting response times set by national standards; avoiding taking land by eminent domain; and historic district considerations.
Historic preservation is one of this group’s alleged motives. However, the sites they propose also sit in the historic district and would also require HDC approval. If they think approval for those sites, like at the current fire station location or the Bedford Motel, would be easier to obtain, that begs the question why the HDC would approve changes there, but not at 139 Great Road. Historic preservation is a red herring.
You will also hear accusations of improper conduct by Emily Mitchell and Sarah Stanton. I encourage everyone to read these accusations, for which she offers no proof, themselves on Margaret’s blog, For example, her assertion that they “misappropriat[ed] earmarked Federal funds” rests solely on her interpretation of ARPA. Given how frequently the Town has consulted with legal counsel in this process, you can be sure all actions have been reviewed thoroughly before, during, and after their execution.
Finally, you will hear that Margaret’s and her friends’ standing in Bedford justifies their efforts. The Moonans’ collective years of service will be invoked. Margaret has already boasted of her family’s contributions to the “health and wealth” of Bedford. She insists that people have moved to Bedford for the past 50 years for the vision her family held for the Town. Those of us who currently live here know that Bedford’s charm doesn’t depend on the buildings in it. Our future cannot be held hostage by people who believe that their years of service and social positions in Bedford entitle them to override the rest of us in deciding what Bedford should be.