Aesop taught us a thing or two about perseverance in the fable The Tortoise and the Hare. That lesson was applied to the long awaited project to build a sidewalk on the entire length of Quaker Meeting House Road in the Town of Sandwich and, as was the case in the children's story, the project/tortoise made it across the funding finish line five years after it was pitched by a citizens' group to the board of selectmen.
See the press release about the project by clicking here.
Here are my comments from today's press conference:
I am very pleased that this key project for the Town of Sandwich has been funded. This road is home to three of the four public school buildings in the town and has been too congested for school children and other walkers to negotiate it safely for years now.
Someday, someone will not be injured or killed by a passing car because of the sidewalk that will run the length of Quaker Meeting House Road. We'll never know when that person's life won't be ended, or significantly changed, but I assure you that moment will happen.
Shortly after assuming my job as state representative in 2011, I came to the realization that a project with an earmark and five bucks will buy you a latte at Starbucks. The real work is in generating the plans, promoting the project, getting it in front of the proper decision makers, and making sure that the merits of the project are understood.
My thank you's go out:
To the people who created a grassroots effort to bring the project to the forefront, who displayed both passion and research at a 2007 selectmen meeting, and who penned more than a twenty letters that were filed with MassDOT;
To the selectmen and our town manager and assistant town manager who embraced the project and made it a priority;
To the people that designed the sidewalk system and handled the details of filing plans, writing letters of explanation, and following the progress of the project hearings, our Engineering Department & DPW, led by Paul Tilton;
To my legislative aide, Susann Koelsch, for being relentless in keeping this project on the political radar and moving forward;
To Jackie Horigan, the Senate President's Director of Constituent Services, who helped us decipher the approval process and who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the project on track;
To the Secretary of Transportation, Richard Davey, MassDOT Highway Administrator, Frank DePaola, and all of the staff in District 5, who supported this project from the beginning and found a way to make it happen;
And, finally to Senate President Therese Murray, who wrote multiple letters of support, committed the resources of her office to help us move the ball down the field and into the red zone, and personally took the actions that ultimately resulted in the funding of the Quaker Meeting House Road sidewalk project. Without you, Madam President, we would not be here today, and you have my sincerest appreciation for being a dedicated and effective proponent for your senate district and for the entire commonwealth. It is my pleasure to serve with you in the Massachusetts legislature.