LETTER: Learn From Our Mistakes – Save the Danforth Art Museum

Framingham Town Meeting will have the opportunity to preserve the Danforth Art Museum as one of Town Meeting’s last acts before Framingham becomes a city.

Town Meeting should embrace the proposed Danforth partnership with Framingham State University and stop another precious community resource from slipping through our fingers.

Danforth Art Museum is currently residing in the Jonathan Maynard Building, a beautiful, historic, and unfortunately dilapidated structure in the Framingham Centre Green. A partnership with FSU will enable us to maintain this structure, provide for its rehabilitation, and preserve the Danforth as an essential cultural resource in this historic area of Framingham. In addition, Framingham State has committed to maintain programs that draw families into the Danforth including classes for children and adults.

The alternative to embracing the partnership would be a vote for Framingham to purchase the Jonathan Maynard building. This would not only likely doom the Danforth Art Museum as a Framingham institution, but it would also leave the city with another crumbling structure in need of millions of dollars of rehab that we cannot afford.

As State Rep. Chris Walsh has pointed out, this choice is all too reminiscent of a previous failure of Town Meeting to preserve the Millwood Golf Course and instead hand it over to developers. Despite a “yes” from me and many others, the vote failed.  Now, this beautiful area of open space is slated for dense residential development. We will try to reduce the scale and density of the proposal, but this is a band-aid response to a gaping wound resulting from a misguided Town Meeting decision.

The unfortunate Millwood Golf Course situation is different from the Maynard/Danforth proposal in some ways, but at its heart, both situations represent the same opportunity: to preserve a community resource that brings the residents of Framingham together. Millwood and Danforth attract people from all walks of life – young and old, rich and poor, Northside and Southside. These community amenities help to make Framingham a whole rather than a collection of individual parts—and help make our community such a rewarding place to live.

We lost a historic opportunity at Millwood. I urge my fellow town meeting members not to make the same mistake again with the opportunity to save Danforth Art Museum and preserve the Jonathan Maynard building in the process. Vote NO on Framingham buying back the Jonathan Maynard building.

Adam Steiner

Town Meeting Member, Precinct 4

Candidate for Framingham City Council – District 3

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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