Alexis Ali: Why mar view from rail trail with a storage facility?



Published: 02-12-2024 5:33 PM

Modified: 02-12-2024 6:57 PM

After reading guest op-eds about the new storage facility in Hadley [“Hadley should house people, not junk” Gazette, Feb. 2, and “They paved paradise and put up a storage facility” Gazette, Jan. 30], I too wanted to voice my annoyance and disappointment.

I have lived here for over five years and on early summer mornings, I often bike on the Norwottuck Rail Trail through Hadley to Amherst, admiring the unobstructed view of paradise. The green grass covered in dew, happy, grazing (and smelly) cows, and blue-colored mountains in the morning light struck me with awe.

No building has ever made me feel like that. Certainly not the one being erected right in the middle of it.

While this new development is irritating, I think the most disappointing part is that the town of Hadley decided to prioritize a storage facility instead of addressing the housing crisis. We’re all feeling it. Rent is going up. I myself have been priced out of areas closer to work, and I’m forced to waste more gas to get to my office.

And my wages are above average for the area. How are our students and lower middle-class workers supposed to keep up? We need more affordable options.

Perhaps the pettiest grievance I have is that, as you drive east on Route 9, there are plenty of empty or abandoned already-developed plots.

So, seriously, I want to ask: Of all the places, why right next to the rail trail? And of all the things we need to develop, why that?

I moved to western Massachusetts in 2018 and it quickly became home. It is the most beautiful, safe, and incredible place I have ever lived. My community is here. I hate seeing nature being developed into something so trivial and vapid.

Alexis Ali