Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 9
 
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
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Princeton Future Enters Partnership to Create Town’s Statistical Profile

ROBERT GEDDES
Princeton Future
THOMAS K. WRIGHT
Regional Plan Association

As Closing Looms, Montgomery Arts Center Seeking Financial Support, New Board

EMILY LOGUE
LINDA LeBOEUF
Acting Co-Presidents, Board of Trustees
Montgomery Center for the Arts
Skillman

“Rumble Strips” on Valley Road Seen as Measure to Reduce Accident Risk

ROGER and REINHILDE NELSON
Valley Road


Princeton Future Enters Partnership to Create Town’s Statistical Profile

To the Editor:

Princetonians are often obliged to decide among competing policies and plans affecting our welfare without benefit of reliable knowledge about our community life. We are forced to rely on varied experiences, anecdotes, impressions, and rumors to guide our decisions about such vital matters as taxes, traffic, jobs, and housing. As a result we are often unable to assess whether we are going up or down, moving forward or backward, getting better or worse, and how we compare with other places. Often, our disagreements on these issues arise from erroneous or incomplete information.

To help bridge this civic knowledge gap, Princeton Future and the Regional Plan Association have begun to collaborate in a new venture, The Princeton Index, consisting of statistical measures of such social indicators as the state of the economy, community, health, education, environment, and governance, as well as other topics of community interest. This statistical profile will be regularly updated and reported to the public. Similar indices have been employed to good purpose on Long Island, in Silicon Valley, and elsewhere, but as we begin our work we are in need of advice from members of our own community. We would be grateful for your suggestions — general or specific, ends or means, form or content — for The Princeton Index.

ROBERT GEDDES
Princeton Future
THOMAS K. WRIGHT
Regional Plan Association

As Closing Looms, Montgomery Arts Center Seeking Financial Support, New Board

Editor’s Note: The following is an Open Letter to the Montgomery Township community.

To the Editor:

As many of you know, Montgomery Center for the Arts (MCA) has served as a first-rate regional resource for arts exhibitions, performances, activities, events, summer camp, and classes for more than 13 years. Ensconced in the lovely setting of the 1860 House, a farmhouse leased for a negligible fee from the Township, and sited on nearly four unsullied acres of field and stream, MCA has quietly stayed the course of its mission to foster the pursuit of art-making in this unique and tranquil spot, affording enormous pleasure to many artists, students, and audiences in the Montgomery community and beyond. Few arts centers are blessed with such a bucolic setting.

What many of you may not know is that what makes MCA a treasured retreat and source of artistic inspiration is also a substantive reason for its current moribund state.

Charming as it is to look at and work in, the inevitable deteriorating structural issues endemic to a 19th century building — ancient, leaky windows and strained gutters, water-logged plaster, inefficient heating systems — make for enormously expensive fuel, utility, and repair bills. The terms of its lease attribute responsibility for these expenses to MCA.

A second, equally substantive problem lies in the deterioration of the infrastructure of the organization itself. In recent years, an inconstant board of trustees has led to a lack of stability at the helm of the organization. It is the responsibility of the board of trustees to generate general operating funds for insurance, salaries, instructor fees, supplies, and so on.

Many of you have heard that MCA is on the verge of losing its home and closing up shop. Last October, the remaining board members resigned. Having raised no funds in the course of its year-long tenure to underwrite expenses, including the salaries of its one full-time and two part-time staff members, and nearly $20,000 in debt (owed mainly to local utilities companies and two former employees), the board left MCA perched on the precipice of filing for bankruptcy.

There are those among us who are willing to shepherd MCA through a new beginning, starting with the development of a new, vigorous board that will steer MCA on its mission to enhance and enrich the artistic and cultural life of its community. It is impossible to believe that others in this fortunate, well-educated, and diverse region would not come forward to preserve this unique cultural asset.

The first step in the rebuilding process is to ask for your help. MCA needs the enthusiasm, participation, and financial support of the community in order to stay afloat and to thrive. It will need funds and volunteers; it will need artists and teachers; but first and foremost we need to know: Do you need MCA?

Please let us know.

EMILY LOGUE
LINDA LeBOEUF
Acting Co-Presidents, Board of Trustees
Montgomery Center for the Arts
Skillman

“Rumble Strips” on Valley Road Seen as Measure to Reduce Accident Risk

To the Editor:

This is an open letter to officials responsible for traffic control in Princeton.

We live on Valley Road between Walnut and Ewing, and too often hear the sound of horns followed by the crunch of an accident at one or the other nearby intersection. Last week there were two at Walnut and Valley Road; the sound from one of them is still ringing in our ears, and that prompts us to write this letter. While we don’t know the details, it seems terribly likely that someone failed to see or heed the stop sign. It is tempting to speculate why. For example, could it be the distraction of a cell phone conversation?

But more important is to do something about it, and we would like to propose a simple and not very costly measure that should help people abide by those stop signs: We suggest putting some “rumble strips” on the paving at an appropriate distance before the intersection. This is used, for example, to alert people to slow down for toll booths, and from personal experience we know it works. Such a measure would wake people up and slow them down, much as do the speed bumps installed around Princeton. In this case, the result should be to prevent or reduce injuries and property damage. The savings in time and expenditures by police and emergency services would quite possibly pay for the rumble strips.

ROGER and REINHILDE NELSON
Valley Road

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