To the editor:
Due to overcrowding, Andover town officials recently banned nonresidents from Pomps Pond. The decision was made by Town Manager Reginald Stapczynski upon the request of Mary Montbleau, director of Andover’s Department of Community Services. As Bill Kirk points out in his July 18 article in The Eagle-Tribune, this policy violates the stipulations of a federal grant received in 1978, which prohibits residency-based discrimination.
However, beyond the policy’s legal standing or the fact that it disqualifies the town from future federal funding under the grant program, the nonresident ban represents an unapologetic move towards Andover’s mounting exclusionism. Rather than simply limiting pass sales or capping the number of patrons once the pond is at capacity, the town has opted to solve the overcrowding problem at its most beautiful swimming hole by limiting access to its affluent residents. In a town that feels progressively more like a homogenous gated community, de jure discrimination — even in a situation as seemingly petty as this — is a mark of shame for any Andover resident who claims to believe in fairness or equality.
Everyone loves the pond. This is both the reason why it was overcrowded in the first place and the reason why the nonresident ban — a policy that privileges some all of the time and excludes others all of the time — must be replaced with a more sensible (and legal) policy that allows everyone to enjoy the pond at least some of the time.