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Ann Arbor And Improvements

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for educational advantages, for pleasan drives, for refined and cultivated society and beautiful women, our city íb unsur passed in the State ; and can you, then teil your readers why such an old, rotten tumble down, patched and broken fenc is permitted to surround the Court Hous square, to notisfy strangers and traveler of the spirit of public improvement ex isting in our city? The Supervisors say that the city would be benefited by a now fence and should build it, while tho City Fathers " don't propose" to improve county property. Therefore the fence stands, an eye-sore to all and a monument of public enterprise. In looking over The Independent of July 30th, my attention was drawn by the title, " The Declining Towns of New England." Eemembering that but a few weeks since you published statistics showing that within the past four years the population of thia city had decreased over 600, I thought that perhaps there might be something of value to us, some reason given which would also account for the decline here, and some suggestions for a recovery. I was not disappointed. The writer says : "Another cause contributing to such decline is a lach of public spirit in many towns. Many of these declining towns are exceedimgly beautiful in their scenery, unsurpassed by any of the far famed towns of Berkshire County. Stockbridge it8elf is not naturally more varied and beautiful in its landscape than many of the grand old towns of Connenticut. What, then, ha made this town so great a resortfor nummer home, and attracted permanent resident from distant place ? The answer to this question may present practical suggestioas to other country towns. The efforts of a sooiety for village improvment called ' The Laurel Hill Association,' organized about twënty years ago, have transformed Stockbridge into one of the most inviting towns in Massachusetts, and hag thus added greatly to its wealth. The Laurel Hill Association was originated by a lady who now enjoys there tne rich fruits of her taste and efficiency. In order to inaugúrate a kindred movement in Connecticut, I published the details of the Stockbridge plan, showing that it had been of great pecuniary benefit to the town, increasing the market value of every house, buitding lot and fiirm. The shade-trees now found in profusión in every street, the park and country enclosed with iron fences, the fine hedges around both public and private grounds, with other improvements, teil why the hotels are thronged with summer guests. Only men of affiuence come so far from the city to erect their country mansions. " Some three years since I commended this sketch to two young ladies in New Milford, Connecticut. The result of the movement which they instituted makes it a worthy example for general imitation. They carefully studied the Stockbridge plan. A village improvement assooiation was formed. At the outset the fee of menibership was fixed at five dollars. Afterward, to make the association acjessible to all, it was reduced to one dollar. The ladies held a fair for the benefit of tho association, which netted nearly f700. The amount secured from member's fees and subscriptions was $ 1 ,692. The resilents along the mam street in the center ill volunteered to pay an assessment of f 1.50 per foot front, which yielded $4,L37. The total amount reoeived to this iate is $6,521.82. Besides this private parties have expended about $2,500 for itreet lamps, walks, and other improvenents. With these funds New Milford itreet has been completely transformed. [n place of a little dirty stream or in a Irought an unseemly line of mud, a caaacious egg-shaped brick sewer has been built, with a thousand feet of lateral pipes and twenty-four sand-wells and basins with iron grating. Fifteen thousind feet of cobble gutter have been completed. The ' green,' formerly uneven, without fence, crossed by loaded wagons, tnd cut up by ruts, has been graded, conjrete sidewalks made, and the whole enslosed with a tetuporary fence. With the improvements already completed, and ethers planned, the three acres of the ong parallelogram here enclosed will make one of the finest parks which any Connecticut town can show. The influvn.ce of these improvements is already feit in ittractmg wealth and culture from abroad tnd enhancing the value of property at home. " A village improvement association Like that at New Milford might be easily formed iu scores of towns. Such an asjociation has recently been formed in Thomaston, Connecticut, and several thousand dollars have been raised and pended in beautifying that village. O. her towns are now moving in the same iirection. The people are everywhere ready for tlie worfc, if only sorne suitable person in '.ach community would start the movement and erganue an association." Here is one of the causes of decline given and a successf ui working plan furnished. The ladies of this city have been noted for their enterprise and energy in the advancement of other worthy objects, and is it not possible that they will consider this matter as entitled to a share of their efforts ? It is not only a laudable object, but one in which all are largely pecuniarily interested, and they would be aided by all persons, for every one sees that the time has come when property owners must either do something to attract people here, or the the depreciation of property may involve them in serious results. The fact stares us in the face that this city is declining, however unwilling we may be to admit it, and it becomes the duty and interest of every property owner, man and woman, to endeavor to devise some means by which the placo will become more attractive and its population and business increased. Again I ask, why is such an old rotten, tumble down, patched and broken fence permitted to surround the Court House square ? And can nothing be done to make a better one ?


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