Horse racing would undermine Great Barrington’s character

This is a great place and horse racing and simulcasting/OTB would seriously detract from what GB and Southern Berkshire County represent.

 To the editor:

I’m adding my vote to the ongoing campaign to stop horse racing from being held again in the town of Great Barrington, Mass. This is my input as a resident concerned about the impact of horse racing on the town and surrounding area as well as a humanitarian concerned about the welfare of the animals involved.

Personally, I find horse racing offensive overall. I should stop there. But we are talking about more than horse racing and the animal abuse that it causes. There will be gambling, and all that goes with this activity. If there is to be simulcasting as well, which no doubt there will be, it makes things worse as this will essentially turn GB into an OTB outlet — a huge mistake for our community.

I remember the 1998 racing event/season and all that came with it, and it wasn’t revenue! It was trash and traffic, and parking problems as well as cruelty to animals! As a homeowner in GB for 25 years, and with family in the Southern Berkshires since 1985, I’ve seen this area grow from a bunch of boarded up stores on Main Street to the elegant town it is now. Many people put a lot of effort into making this town a home and a vibrant community, as well as a place to be proud of and a delightful place to visit, live, eat, shop, get coffee, and go for a stroll! I’d hate to see it sold out to gambling on horse racing and simulcasting, and be known for animal cruelty and abuse! I don’t see any upside to approving horse racing in GB!

I am a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Army with multiple tours of duty overseas and countless CONUS (CONtinental US) missions (including response to the Boston bombing) as a MEDEVAC crew member. I’ve seen my fair share of cruelty, abuse, and death. I’ve been away many years, serving with the army in many places, and I always loved to come home to GB. It’s a peaceful, quiet place, I think everyone who lives here would say the same. Many residents have situations similar to mine — they travel for work, but look forward to returning home. There are also many second homeowners here who enjoy the break from the hectic pace of their work and primary residences, and just want to get away to the “country.”

This is a great place and horse racing and simulcasting/OTB would seriously detract from what GB and Southern Berkshire County represent. Two things: 1) Senate bill S.101 and any associated bills, H.13, need to be defeated, and 2) the people of Great Barrington should be allowed to vote on this matter should it come to it. I know it is possible for the house to accomplish these two things. It is the right thing to do. Let the town Selectboard (413-528-1619, ext.2) and your state Representative and Senator (Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, 413-637-0631 and Sen. Adam Hinds, 413-722-1625) know to defeat this legislation

Richard Flach SSG, US Army (Ret)
Great Barrington, Mass.