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Letter: Support the AWHS Mission

I am quite despairing that the current Democratic administration is continuing its practice of using taxpayer funds to shut down valued Town of Woodbridge activities as well as stripping, dismantling, shuttering, and leaving so many taxpayer-owned properties and buildings to rot.

The list is getting long:

  1. Golf at the Country Club of Woodbridge;
  2. Outdoor pool activities at the Country Club of Woodbridge;
  3. Tennis and volleyball at the Country Club of Woodbridge;
  4. A commercial kitchen and restaurant at the Country Club of Woodbridge;
  5. A luxurious venue for weddings and other special events at the Country Club of Woodbridge;
  6. NO activity at the Old Firehouse even after a huge investment of State and taxpayer funds;
  7. NO development of Bradley Road, Selden Street, or the business district; and
  8. NO RFP’s ever issued for any of the above.

AND NOW

  • No future activities by the Amity and Woodbridge Historical Society (AWHS) at the Darling House?
  • No future educational activities by the Historical Society at the one-room schoolhouse?
  • Consideration of commercial enterprises at the non-profit, National Registered, historic jewel that is the 6-acre Darling House campus?

We, the townspeople of Woodbridge, approved the use of our sky-high taxes to buy, build, and preserve the Country Club buildings and property (115 acres), the Old Firehouse, the Darling House (6 acres), and the Schoolhouse:  History, Education, Open Space, and Recreation that has always been the essence of life in Woodbridge.  Instead of using our quality assets to generate tax revenue, provide jobs for our residents, and have first-class recreational and social activities at these now-abandoned locations, this current administration has spent years seriously considering several large ‘pie-in-the sky’ projects.

On Tuesday, February 25 the Town administration decided to return the caretaker apartment and to provide a long-term lease to the AWHS.  Great news.  At the same time they appeared to divide the Darling House from other barns, buildings, and the larger property that comprises ‘The Museum’ as recognized by the State Historical Preservation Office.  They suggested that land and assets other than the Darling House itself be managed by an ‘oversight board’ of unqualified, non-credentialed individuals who lack the required expertise, formal education, or experience for such a task and gleefully referred to inventory management and archiving as a ‘treasure hunt’ that could be conducted by scouts and children.  Enough!

Allow the AWHS and their hard-working Board of volunteers to get on with their mission as spelled out in their excellent presentation without further interference.  Let them continue to protect the outstanding collection, maintain their National Register designation, maintain their non-profit status that allows them to obtain grants for improvements, and conduct interactive programs for adults and school children.  Otherwise, we will be adding the AWHS to that long list of non-functioning, tax-supported properties,

Joyce Simpson

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