More opportunity for ‘it’
The givens: Paul Coulombe and his spending is controversial. Both his past contributions to the Boothbay peninsula and his current activity draw criticism and praise alike.
So what? For those who like “it" as “it" was — forget it. What “it" was will never be again. Live with it.
The challenge is to work with the Coulombes of the world and help create whatever “it” was, into what you’d like “it" to be. That takes visionary thinking void of bias and questions of others’ motivation. That, more often than not, also takes compromise.
For the peninsula to simply survive, more options and more opportunity needs to be developed. Fishing and lobstering, the boat industry, and the current level of tourism will not alone cut it. The dropping Boothbay Region High School student population is all it takes to see that. Let’s take advantage of our climate and geographical location.
I suggest we take a page out of the Coulombe and the Botanical Gardens playbooks. Improve the curb appeal to the area. Expand the tourist draw to a season of 10-12 months rather than the current 4-6. That’s what both Coulombe and the Gardens have started and as I see it, that’s what they continue to propose we do more of.
Fighting the redesigned Route 27 roundabout at the Common because we want it to remain the way “it" was doesn’t help anything. Imagine the vista greeting our visitors in November and December if, in addition to the landscaping improvements proposed in the Boothbay Common plans, thousands of Christmas lights were strung around that area. And further, thousands more strung all the way west to the Botanical Gardens Aglow program and east throughout both sides of the Harbor. Follow that up with winter wonderland type programs January through March similar to the upcoming Harbor Fest and the annual summer’s Windjammer Days.
This isn’t even thinking outside the proverbial box. The foundation has already been laid. No, the Common will never be exactly the same. But the Bet's Fish Fry transformation has shown the improvements possible without sacrificing the integrity of the area — and those memories so important to all of us.
Villa Rica, Georgia