I have heard and read the recent back and forth regarding the Shady Rest repairs and Preservation and am trying to work through the finger pointing and accusations that are going on.
As an avid golfer, a proud long time Scotch Plains resident, and in the context of this issue, someone that participated in the John Shippen Golf Outings and viewed both "A Place for Us" and "Uneven Lies" when they originally aired many years ago, I want whatever is the best plan that can be achieved for the future of Scotch Hills/ Shady Rest.
At the August 2013 Town Council Meeting where the Shady Rest was first discussed, which I was in attendance, I heard many passionate speeches from both citizens and the Town Council. There was much conversation about repairs to the building (especially the roof), but an equal amount of conversation regarding The National Historic Registry. And in my view, there in lies the current dilemma facing the Council and Town Manager. The experts that spoke about The Historic Registry repeatedly talked about the preservation of original conditions, original material, etc. that were required for consideration. As a result, the Council put forward the need to hire a Historic Architect to evaluate the conditions at Scotch Hills and steps necessary for The Historic Registry. Furthermore, Councilman Vastine suggested moving moneys proposed for a spray park at Brookside Park be switched to the paying of said Historic Architect.
The addition of Shady Rest to The Historic Registry, while wonderful if it comes to fruition, is realistically a long shot (keep in mind that the Historic Registry covers more than just buildings, it also covers sites and areas). But while that hope still lives, aren't the Council's hands tied beyond doing basic patch repairs so as to not further deviate from the original structure even more than that which has already occurred?
Why is Councilman Vastine being blamed for what is a necessary position any more than the Councilpersons sitting in August 2013 that did not appropriate the money towards a new roof at that point?
Ultimately, if the Architect comes back with a plan of action that may qualify Shady Rest for The Registry, I truly believe The Town Council and Town Manager will do everything they can to help facilitate those steps. And if, unfortunately, the Architect deems Hisoric Registry acceptance as unachievable, I believe the Council and Manager will act quickly to make permanent repairs and/or upgrades to ensure the long term future of the building including appropriate ways of honoring the history of both John Shippen and The Shady Rest Country Club.
So, I ask that in spite of the frustrations of members of the Shady Rest Committee in the time that has spanned since last August, that they show patience in waiting for the report from the Architect and to please stop trying to turn well meaning and sincere Councilpersons and our Town Manager into villains or "stonewallers" on this issue.
In the end, the pleasure, educational experience and pride that will be enjoyed for many, many years by those visiting the preserved and improved Shady Rest will be what truly matters.