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Pond Street, Ashland MA: Vision accomplished.

They said, “It can’t be done.”

People couldn’t see the vision for a Pond Street renovation until bulldozers began moving mountains of earth along the road ... and then they did.

Each day construction workers hover over engineering drawings and police direct motorists as they navigate, “Road Work Ahead.”

It’s safe to say, this $21MM dollar State funded MassDOT project is underway. Sandwiched between Framingham and Holliston, Pond Street in Ashland is transforming from blight to beautiful.

Acknowledgement and thanks to municipal and state leaders, engineers, urban planners, department heads, and volunteers, happen at the ceremony. As the project Chair from 2013 to 2020, I’m on to the next vision, it’s who I am. So, if building an idea and making it real exhilarates you, this’ll relate.

1. Build it on the inside first. It’s a principle that architects, inventors and visioneers use to develop the idea before we see it as “real.” It’s mastering imagination, really. Nikola Tesla, futurist, mechanical engineer and inventor of AC Power, Alternating Current was legendary at using his imagination, “… I observed to my delight that I could visualize with the greatest facility. I need no models, drawings or experiments. I could picture them all as real in my mind… I do not rush into actual work. When I get an idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination.” Working with imagination is the inner cause to the outer effect. I have visions too. And in 2008 I began writing about a revitalized Pond Street in the MetroWest Daily News, “… I see an architecturally aesthetic streetscape. The newly paved road is tree lined with wrought iron street lamps. I see brick cross walks. Pots brimming with flowers and park benches adorn the sidewalks. Browse artesian shops full of unique gifts. Chat with friends at a sidewalk café. See it?” The birth of any vision, starts in the womb of imagination, but it’s just the beginning. The Pond Street project took over a decade of focused work by people who could see it.

2. Predictable opposition. “Paula Parker is smoking weed, Pond Street will never happen!” I listen since, never. My priority is dedication to the inside vision, because it can dissolve obstacles. When working in the embryonic stage, I ignore opinions. It can lead to arguing which sucks energy away from building the vision. Buckminster Fuller, “Bucky,” architect, systems theorist, inventor, and futurist, born in Milton, MA lived the principle, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Use your energy to argue or use your energy to build a new model, not both. The tangible new model here, is a gorgeous Pond Street.

Being called crazy comes with the visioneer’s territory. But building a vision from the inside out so you see it, is the road I travel. See you on Pond Street. Paula M. Parker (C) 2021

Originally published in the Milford Daily News a USA Today network

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