Letters to the editor written by Pierce Middle School students as part of its writing curriculum arrive at the Milton Times office each spring. The letters are essays, where each student defends a chosen view on a number of subjects. From pollution on the land and in the sea, from students’ homework load, from the condition of outdoor sports fields, from lowering the voting age and ensuring pedestrian safety, the topics and viewpoints run the gamut. Most of the letters address a concern important to the particular letter writer. As such, most of the letters take on a Milton-focused concern. The content reflects a student’s perspective in a world, or town, not yet of his or her making. Their voices are welcome in this publication, now and going forward. Letters began arriving at the Times’ office at 3 Boulevard St. in May. As space allows in the print edition, the letters are published. Minimal editing is done on a letter; mostly, it isn’t needed. A headline is added to the letter. Often, the headline is drawn from a few words within the letter and placed in single opening and closing quotes, per AP style. Additional headline words may be added for subject clarity and accuracy.
One letter hit a nerve with Cunningham Foundation Chair Bruce Alexander, as did its headline. The student’s letter centered on the pond at Cunningham Park. The letter was written before the pond opened. Earlier this year, the pond underwent resurfacing and painting, as reported in captioned photos. The spring’s rainy weather delayed completing the project and the June 17 opening. A problem with the pond’s chlorinator further delayed the pond’s opening for swimming and water fun. On July 1, the pond opened, about two weeks behind its planned start date.
The student deserves commendation for proposing a solution to what she views as a problem – setting a timeline to raise money for a new pool. No disrespect was meant on her part, nor mine. If the letter’s contents are reasonable, it will be published. The letters are not written by a news reporter, who would not express opinion in a story. A reporter wrote a news story earlier about Cunningham Park.
Cunningham Park Manager Dave Walgren explained the classification of the body of water that people enjoy for swimming and wading.
“For over 50 years, the pool was called a pool. About 3 years ago, the Milton Board of Health called in the State to inspect the Pool. As of that August, the Pool was now classified as a Pond. A chlorinated Pond. The reason is that everyday a spring underground feeds that Pond fresh water. A pool has to be a contained body of water that stays the same unless you add water. The Pond has fresh water everyday. It’s about 5 gallons an hour. The spring is underground at the end of the dock. In order to paint the Pond bottom this year, we had to continually pump water out in order for it not to fill up.”
Not all residents of Milton, of which I am, may realize the park is run by a private foundation. It is a private estate run by a trust fund. There is a fee and pool tag required to use the pond, as cited on cunninghampark.org. The pond’s usage is $130 for a family for nine weeks.
If I were to do this again, the letter still would have been published, with an editor’s note at its end stating repairs to the pond are complete. A visit to the pond over the sweltering weekend of July 20-21 featured water that beckoned this swimmer.
I did not see any leaves or twigs in the water.
– Lisa D. Connell