GROTON -- Board of Selectmen candidate Barry Pease is determined to be the voice for a new generation of Groton residents.
"I hope to bring a different viewpoint to the Board of Selectmen," said Pease, a resident of Island Pond Road. "My expertise and experience within business will be of great use to a board tasked with governance. I believe in communication and openness.
"Specifically, I am offering the people of Groton my expertise in leadership and skills at all corporate levels, including finance, strategic planning, customer service, public relations and common sense," he said. "I represent a different era than the current members. There are a great number of Groton's residents who moved here within the last 15 years, and we all really love this town. I hope to be able to provide this critical viewpoint within the board, while working alongside the expertise and experience of those who have been within Groton's government for decades."
Pease and his family settled in Groton in 2002. He is employed as director of marketing and sales for a Shirley-based manufacturer of Burkart flutes and piccolos.
"If elected, I have two primary goals: Partnering with the Groton-Dunstable School Committee and groups like APEX and GDEF to restore our schools to excellence, including reversing many years of cuts; and encouraging the creation of commercial office space within Groton," said Pease. "These goals will require us to create methods for achieving better outreach and involvement from the townspeople and improve the reputation of Groton's town government.
"There is a fundamental and beneficial partnership between the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District and the town of Groton," declared Pease. "I stand for funding education at the highest levels with appropriate oversight and communication. This will require a different set of policies and collaboration between the town and the School Committee. A guiding coalition towards strengthening our schools and preserving our future should be the primary goal during the Board of Selectmen's next term. If elected, I will work to create and strengthen a team dedicated to Groton's future."
"Most new residents move to Groton for the school system," Pease admitted. "The quality of our education system is linked to our reputation. If we want growth, including new business and successful neighbors, then we want Groton to have an outstanding reputation. This means we must have a superb school district. This will provide Groton with a steady and robust tax-base. Children only get one chance at an education. We cannot afford to let them down; we cannot afford to damage their future. The Groton community owes it to our children to deliver this education at the highest levels, with the most enrichment possible.
On the municipal side, the candidate feels that spending must be tempered with up to date accounting methods and technology.
"Our highway department is world-class," observed Pease. "Every dollar spent here is returned to the residents of Groton and surrounding communities ten-fold. I would like to increase the spending for the Senior Center and increase the services offered by the Council on Aging. Our seniors are a vital and vibrant part of the town, and we need to continue to embrace them and provide for them. We need effective and efficient public safety. However, we need our municipal offices to accelerate the move towards technology. We have great employees within Town Hall but they don't always have the proper tools. This can prevent them from achieving their goals. Spending problems in municipal governments, just like within a business, often results from lack of technology. Investments in technology will allow Town Hall to increase productivity without increasing staffing levels."
In favor of more commercial development, Pease is upbeat about Groton's allure to business.
"Both Main Street and Station Avenue would benefit from new office space and good parking," said Pease. "The Board of Selectmen should encourage and seek businesses that are willing to relocate and grow their businesses within Groton. I personally know that regional business people would love to move their offices to Groton, but there is no good space right now. We have a few good restaurants, local markets, banks, and other services which would benefit from more people there during the weekday. And then the parking spaces become useful during the weekends for community events. Once you have enough people coming into Groton's town center for work, market forces will take over and existing businesses will prosper."
Pease also sees plans for the disposition of some public properties as being beneficial to the community at large.
"Halsey Platt is a Groton resident and Groton businessman who came up with a great idea to save Squannacook Hall and work with the town to return a dormant municipal property to a taxable status," said Pease. "This failed to pass 2/3 at Town Meeting in the fall; it only received 57.5 percent approval. The majority of attendees at Town Meeting favor this, but not enough of the Town Meeting attendees understood the costs of letting this property remain dormant. Perhaps Mr. Platt, the Board of Selectmen, members from the Christian Union Church, and the local business community can work together to show people within the town of Groton how this proposal is positive for the town. I haven't seen other alternatives that work, except for removing the building and selling the land without conditions."
Another part of town that has been somewhat neglected is the Four Corners, whose commercial lots have remained either empty or underutilized for the past several years.
"What a tragedy that this prime area continues to remain unused," lamented Pease. "The Four Corners would be a great spot for an office building with a Blackbird Café or Starbucks on the corner. Let's work together to fix the sewage issues and bring more business into Groton. We just need to work a bit smarter, have a bigger vision, and make Groton sustainable.
"This is a critical time for our town," concluded Pease. "During crises such as these, we need fresh ideas, a new set of eyes. We need creativity. We need vision. Most of all, we need effective leadership. I am offering to donate all of these skills and my time to make our town more vibrant, our schools greater, and our community stronger. Groton's voters have a chance to accept my offer on May 20, by voting Barry Pease for selectman."