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Indian Hill Music Has Always Tried to Be the Best Neighbor

Open Letter to the Planning Board:

My name is Bill Knuff. I live at 71 Smith Street, Groton, MA 01450. I am writing to register my support for the Indian Hill Music Center project under development on the Geils and Rosenberger properties on Old Ayer Road.

I have been a resident of Groton dating back to the 1970’s and have supported the mission of Indian Hill Music from its earliest beginnings in Groton. My life experience has been enhanced by this association in a variety of ways over the years.

As a parent I watched my children develop their musical appreciation and abilities through guitar and piano lessons at the music school. Music continues to enrich their lives. As a volunteer committee member for a short period of time I was able to return the favor in a very small way. As a subscriber and concert goer I have enjoyed the growth and development of the Indian Hill Orchestra from a small group of dedicated musicians playing in challenging venues like the Groton School Dining Hall to the assembly of outstanding professionals who perform musical magic for us today at Littleton High School – a venue also not without its challenges.

However, I support the Indian Hill Music Center project not only because it enriches our lives but because it adds value to our community and our town. Let me say a few words about that.

I, like many of us who have a vested interest in Groton, recall these properties as beautiful orchards and impeccably manicured farms lovingly maintained by their former owners. We would have preferred that legacy be perpetuated. The reality is that both of these properties have been in an undeniable state of decline for nearly twenty years. Efforts to find single family buyers willing and able to restore them to their former glory have been spectacularly unsuccessful.

Residential development is both undesirable and a negative net return, typically costing more in terms of schools and public safety than it returns in tax revenue. An effort to repurpose one of these parcels as an alternative education college was an option not without its problems and would have had an equally unpleasant impact on the neighborhood. Fortunately, from my perspective, this idea was stillborn. So where do we find ourselves today?

We have an opportunity to bring Indian Hill Music back home as the world-class organization it has become. Indian Hill Music has always been a first class organization with right-minded institutional values and ethics.

They have always tried to be the best possible neighbor. I believe this project will be designed, developed, and executed with these same high standards. We have evidence of this if we simply look around. Who among us has not driven down Old Ayer Road to see the Priest Orchard be restored to the beautiful agricultural hillside that it is? Who among us has not been thrilled at the prospect of converting these properties from the agricultural slum they have become to an asset for the neighborhood and the town? Indian Hill Music is already demonstrating that they are good stewards of the land and sensitive to the broader environment.

The impressive project team assembled by Indian Hill Music is another example of doing the right thing. They have demonstrated a thoughtfulness and a thoroughness in presenting their vision and proposed development for this site. They continue to impress with their outreach and efforts to understand and respond to the expressed concerns of neighbors and governing boards. Complicated projects such as these don’t simply appear…they evolve. As this project is refined I have every reason to expect this process will address and resolve these concerns in the best interests of all of us. This does not mean there will be no change. To no one’s surprise, change is difficult. However, not to embrace it, is to die.

For one, I look forward to the day when I can walk down my driveway and up the Rail Trail to Peabody Street to attend an Indian Hill Music event.

Respectfully,
W G Knuff
Smith Street

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P.O. Box 610, Groton, Massachusetts 01450
 

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