It’s All Good

SMG's 'Are We Here Yet?' Podcast
Find our complete roster of podcasts
Essays From An Artist
I recently engaged in conversation with two local neighbors, a long-standing local business owner and a former elected official who offered their opinions on my support for a ‘return’ to investments in transforming our city’s core into a walkable, bike-able, densely populated urban center.  
Scotts on the Rocks Politica Podcast
Find our complete roster of podcasts Official Logo of the Scotts on the Rock Politica Podcast. Red white and blue lettering on a background of a bourbon on the rocks. The extreme background a US flag.

No. XXIV. March 2, 2021

Note to Boomers: Forced (“Unforced”) Government Planning Comes to Gardner – It’s Good (Part I)

The dilapidated and about-to-fall-down industrial/commercial building at 177 West St. will ultimately end up with the City Council voting to appropriate the money for its demolition.

But, it’s good.  Just as with every crisis, it’s merely an opportunity waiting to be exploited.  

Spending Taxpayer money on 177 West Street is just forced government planning – the only real kind of planning.

For Boomers, “forced” in 2021 means “unforced.”  So, it’s good. 

The City will end up with another empty lot to plan about, and who can’t use more empty lots? It’s good.

It can only add to the development already long-ongoing in this City, and, as always with government planning, there can be no downside.  

Yes, the city planners cut all of West St. out of the City’s official Urban Renewal Plan.  That’s good, though.  It’s called government planning.  It’s on purpose.  Everything is – it’s called “p-l-a-n-n-i-n-g” for a reason.  Boomers, try to keep up.

So, because 177 West St. got cut out of the Urban Renewal Plan there will be no State Grants to pay for this forced (unforced) project.  It’s good.

Many say, “we already have vacant lots all over the place where buildings used to be.”  The answer is, “And?”  

Of course we have empty lots – including in Downtown.  This is progress; it’s all on purpose.  P-l-a-n-n-i-n-g.

You can see this progress with your own eyes, and it’s not virtual.  It’s real.  In fact, let’s get with the post-modern program, and capitalize stuff.  “Progress.”  P-r-o-g-r-e-s-s.  Boomers, it’s not tricky (see, “forced,” above).

The upper case is another effective, utilitarian 21st century innovation, to go with all the others like “misinformation” (Boomers, that means “I disagree with that”) and “social credit points” (Boomers, that means “I’m better than you”).  The upper case imparts merit on an otherwise meritless notion (or person).  Boomers, when you see the upper case, just think: “this is wicked impressive, hey.”  

Prior to this post-modern merit-bestowed-by-symbol, we had “government” and “planning” – things that did not deserve any merit unless they, well, actually accomplished something.  Hello? That’s like actually playing baseball instead of playing Baseball Stars 2 on PlayStation 4. Please.

Now, we don’t have government planning, we have Government Planning.  See the merit?

Gardner Progress can be seen most especially if you look at our two most Major Plans: The Gardner Urban Renewal Project (known as the Rear Main Street or Downtown Urban Renewal Plan), and The Mill Street Corridor Urban Renewal Plan.  

Both of these Major Plans (“Major” – not unlike the “Major Award” that Ralphie’s father won in A Christmas Story) in Gardner have literally thrust Gardner at high speed into the 21st century (and we are only 1/5 into the century).

The Rear Main St. Urban Renewal Plan ideas started in 2008.  That’s only thirteen years ago.  The actual Plan itself was accepted by the State in 2011.  So, as you see, it’s just a baby – of course it’s still crawling.  There are three Phases to the Plan.  The baby only reached its Phase I end date a mere 4 years ago.  That’s, like, only Yesterday.

Phase I, a splendid example of what visionary Government Planning can do.  We are well into Phase II now (2018-2023), and you can see Progress with your own eyes – forget the 21st century (Boomers will still be living then for crikessakes), 22nd Century here we come!  

Progress in Rear Main Street is alive, as we speak.  If you are an extremely fit person (or a pro cyclist), see for yourself.  If you can make it the entire distance of the new bike path, you’ll have survived a living experience of the opus magnum of the Government Planning back there.  All along the bike path are living examples of the massive Development (Progress) back there.  And, it’s only been 13 years!

Same thing with our newest Development baby – the Mill Street Urban Renewal Plan.  Drive down Mill St. – there’s a terrific and beautiful solar business out there right on nature’s own Ramsdell’s Pond.  For idealists, you can imagine sci-fi genius Ray Bradbury meeting transcendental genius Henry Thoreau under the humming solar panels, flicking away glyphosate-eradicated tumbleweeds watching for wood drakes on the pond – no traffic, no activity, no humans – just the peace of wild things (read Wendell Berry’s poems).

It’s only been about 10 years for the Mill St. Plan.  When you drive through there, keep in mind that the Progress is there, and it’s just a baby – it’s real (it’s a Government Plan, after all).  New neighborhoods within walking distance of retail and shops, the creation of new life and activity and recreation, and the creation of countless new jobs, and a revitalized, innovative walking/recreational bridge to the City’s Shopping Mecca (Timpany Plaza) – just read the Plan if you don’t believe me.  Boomers, we’re just getting “stahted, hey.”

So, 177 West Street falling on our lap, pardon the pun, is a good thing. With 177 West St., our Community Development & Planning Dept. can call 177 West St. “its own,” and can take all the credit for another brilliant idea of Government Planning.  

The recent 525 Parker Street project, on the other hand, was, gasp . . . someone else’s idea – unblessed by the Gardner Community Development & Planning Government Visionaries (spearheaded by the same guru, Director Trevor Beauregard, under the form of a city board called “The Planning Board” – big “P,” big “B”).

We can see why the Planning Board unanimously shot down and killed the 525 Parker Street redevelopment plan – how can the Planning Board be expected to plan when it’s someone else’s idea?  Duh.

Who needs someone coming in from Outside the monolithic and homogenous Community Development and Planning of the Government with their own ideas?  “Hold my beer, that’s not ‘Planning.’”

Part II tomorrow – 525 Parker Street, The Nerve of Some People!

We Have More Below

Discover other Urban Planning and Economic Development content from M the Media Project

Ep. 37 Your Town, Built Stronger

featuring Strong Towns founder Chuck Marohn


by Essays From An Artist | SMG & M the Media Project founder Scott M. Graves

No Apology for Urban Anthropology


Ep.8 Building a Town for an New Era

by SMG's's 'Are We Here Yet?' | Alec Wade, Community Development Director, Town of Orange, MA

Is It the Past or Is It the Future?

by Essays From An Artist | A Bottom Up Approach to building cities

Making Innovation

by SMG's 'Are We Here Yet?' | Angela & Randal Meraki, The Worcshop

For Art & Politics

by Scotts on the Rocks Politica Podcast | feat. Jared Holaday

Scotts on the Rocks Politica is a political-centric broadcast that aims to lead through example.

Scott M. Graves is your host joined by a wide variety of guests from throughout the political spectrum and from a wide variety of disciplines.

Our intent is to provide rational and detailed discussion for listeners.  We’re proving we have more in common and that we’re better together than torn asunder.

Our weekly podcast features careful examinations  blendded with current events reporting from a national and local perspective.

If you appreciate local journalism with a global reach, if you want to cut through the BS and get right to the heart of the matter where it counts for your family our show was made for you.


With that in mind we’re launching an initiative we’re calling M The Media Project. This is a service of SMGraves Associates and over the months and years ahead we’re hoping to experiment with a variety of mediums, financial models and service delivery methods to deliver important news to a regional audience. 

It is our hope that we will create successful media services companies, incubated right here in central Massachusetts that have the potential of becoming replicable. 

The stakes for our society are too high for us not to take this endeavor on.  There are too many capable journalists across the country willing to take part in new and successful business enterprise dedicated to the smart delivery of local political, social and cultural stories.  The stories that tell us who we are and who we desire to be.
Official Logo of the Scotts on the Rock Politica Podcast. Red white and blue lettering on a background of a bourbon on the rocks. The extreme background a US flag.
Underwriting Scotts on the Rocks Politica Podcast.

Interested in advertising with us?  Perhaps you want a unique way to support the economic development work we accomplish while getting access to our intelligent and informed listeners?  Join our roster of supporters.  Click that button below to find out more.