September 23, 2017

EP the Beautiful

Posted by ArnieMcConnell

EP the Beautiful

OK. Don’t take my word for it. Get out your digital cameras or your computer phones. Stand on the Pawtucket Avenue sidewalk, a bit to the left of the clock tower, and take a picture. What you’ll frame in your viewfinder will speak for itself.

To those who love it, still, and who were formed by it in so many ways, EP remains the sculptural beauty that it always was.

Yes, the pool hall must be removed and replaced.
Yes, the building must be renovated and renewed in its entirety.
Yes, this renewal must be thorough, complete, and inclusive of updates and innovations.

But EP is still beautiful to those who love it.
Still useful, still inspiring.

We live in a throwaway age, which even includes new buildings. I remember, for example, when the enormous Ann&Hope on route six was torn down after maybe twenty-five years of use, to be replaced by other big box stores. At the time, and even today, I couldn’t believe the waste.

No worries, I was told. Well, I am worried.

Look around. You might see, among the few go-getters and instant success stories, more than a few people who are worried. Worried about where the next buck is going to come from for themselves and their families. Worried about where their “town” is going, whether it can truly govern itself, and whether it can afford the enormous amounts of money, one hundred and fifty million dollars and more, that have been bandied about, so soon after the town was taken over in a decidedly undemocratic, but not entirely un-Democratic way.

We need at least two prospective governing parties, if not more. Instead, we have the Party.

At the turn of the last century, a Republican, Theodore Roosevelt, established progressive reforms, getting ordinary citizens to buy in. He was a huge hit in East Providence, and we have numerous pictures from that era in our city hall to validate it.

Roosevelt had the ego to believe in himself, the education and training to temper that ego with concern for others and for the environment, and the drive to get things done.

Where is our EP Theodore Roosevelt? He or she may be out there right now.

Where is the young contractor who wants to form a federation of other local contractors as a counterweight to jobbing out big work to dinosaur contracting groups? Where are the active Moms and Dads who want the greatest luxury of all for their children, a safe, diverse public school in which all students are considered important? Beyond testing. Beyond so-called economic necessity. Beyond sectarianism. (Look it up.)

Put yourself in massive debt, and you may never know.

Arnie McConnell, East Providence High School, class of ‘67

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