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City must not give up Butler Street to college

Closing Butler Street would be a mistake and moreover, it would be wrong.

Marietta is a small city, yet bursting with what seems to be more and more traffic on its busy roadways which, at times, makes travel very difficult.

Butler Street is one such path area residents can use to bypass some of that traffic but more importantly, Butler cuts down on emergency response times.

Closing Butler from the northeast will only create a much worse bottleneck between two of the most busy intersections in Marietta at Pike/Greene/Seventh and Putnam and Seventh.

Issues such as these have been raised in concern with Marietta College’s request to close Butler Street between Fourth and Seventh streets, a stretch of road that seems to cut extensively through the college campus.

While this “fact” gives Marietta College a unique standing to issue the request they have, it rankles this reader (and many others) that the college would propose, greedily, that another of Marietta’s streets be ceded to them for their own gain.

It also ticks me off that any of Marietta’s “leaders” are even entertaining the idea.

If the city decides to close Butler, they are doing nothing more than kowtowing to the whims of a college using political and economic “persuasion” for a project that will largely only benefit the latter.

Arrogantly, Marietta College has neglected notifying us ahead of time of meetings too, such as the “community input meeting” held at 3 p.m. on Feb. 7. Where’s the due public notice?

Some people who would like to participate could not because we didn’t get our paper until 4 p.m. that same day. That’s either bad reporting or bad publicity, and in some ways all too convenient for certain parties.

To some, the logical and well-known issues outlined above, let alone the nostalgia involved with closing the length of that little, part-brick-part-blacktop car path, seems to be of no big deal. They do the old brush-off.

Whether it’s getting from point A to B, to avoid a little traffic or taking a cruise on a lazy afternoon, the whole length of Butler is one of those well-known, well-worn old town roads that only so-called progress can neatly destroy into the annals of town history.

It’s true, a stretch of Fifth was closed long ago; however, we shouldn’t be so hasty to close a stretch of Butler no matter how many “traffic studies” the city or the college may perform or fund. The fact remains: once it’s gone, it’s gone.

It seems, sometimes, we’re all wont to erase history and in the same breath profess a sense of community. Is that how it’s done these days? If you have no history, you have no community.

It may seem frivolous to some, to argue for the status quo by waxing poetic. Yet, I contend that both logic and history bear to keep Butler open and Marietta moving.

If that is not enough, then perhaps instead of letting profligate politicians and other influences decide to give that part of Butler to Marietta College, we should have a countywide vote on it. Yes, countywide, because more than just city dwellers and college-supporters like to use Marietta’s facilities on a regular basis.

While we of Marietta may or may not see the benefits Marietta College has afforded the town, we must remember that this town has long afforded the college with support in its workers with places to live, places to eat, to drink, be merry, to shop, to meet, to gather, to worship and yes, miles of pavement with which to safely travel to and from that “bastion” of liberal education.

Must we give them another street too?

Butler Street must stand.

Don Dennis

Marietta