Wards Corner Now has received the following response from Gary Gouge, Building Superintendent of the Norfolk Masonic Temple:
In response to the letter about turning the Masonic Temple in to a drinking establishment. It is not our intention to do any thing of the kind. Our Grand lodge prohibits any mason to sell alcohol at our temple. We host wedding receptions and small sporting events as a fund raiser to help us keep the doors open. In applying for the special adult exception use permit. It was my thought to allow a cash bar provided by the renters in that the wedding here are usually small. But because of the controversy we have decided to drop that. NO Alcohol will be sold on our premises. In regards to not going to the civic league, I had attended the wards corner civic league meeting on feb 23 09. I had gone to the Wards Corner Task force meeting and they had no objection. I will be attending the next civic league meeting.
Norfolk Masonic Temple
I am sorry as a member of the Wards Corner community that we did not hear the full story before reacting to the Masonic Temple’s request to be able to sell alcohol on premise for certain special occasions. I think weddings are a wonderful thing to embrace in a community and the temple was attempting to respond to the needs/ requests of their members and potential wedding parties. I would love to be able to see more of those down the street – they represent love, happiness and community celebration. These are not always the first things that come to mind when people think of Ward’s corner. If allowing a restricted alcohol arrangement at the temple allowed for more of that kind of celebration, I would have to be all for it. I am not sure it has anything to do with Granby High School nor would it impact the students in any way. I would like to say I am sorry to the temple members and representatives for any prejudgement that you experienced as a result, as these opinions were not the position of Ward’s corner as a whole. The reality is, we have people getting shot on streets close to our homes. Let’s focus on the bigger safety issues we have going on. Safe streets with newly weds coming down church steps is something to be embraced. Did they have a drink in the church because the wedding reception was there also? I am not sure I care one bit if they did.
With no disrespect to Mr. Gouge I do not remember his attendance at our Feb 23rd Wards Corner Civic League meeting nor any discussion at any time regarding this issue at our meetings that I have presided over and I have been at every one. Perhaps I was unconscious/blacked out or asleep when he spoke but I do not rememeber him being there. If he was there he didn’t introduce himself to me. Perhaps he was at another civic league meeting in the area.
Wards Corner Civic League
Mr. Gouge; It was nice to meet you again last night at the Greater Wards Corner Partnership meeting. We first met at the Mayors Wards Corner Taskforce meeting when Mr. Jim McDonald, President of Talbot Park Civic League brought you to our meeting. I was very sorry to hear that after we supported what you were doing and our councilmen told you to fill out and submit your paper work that this whole process has cost your orginazation over $25,000.00 in lost revenues, not to mention the two weddings you now have to cancel because of this whole unnecessary uproar because people who don’t attend avaliable meetings just read something in the paper and went off half cocked without getting all the facts. The Masons have always been good neighbors, giving unselfishly to the community. With the 40 plus people at last nights meeting representing different civic leagues the over all agreement was that you continue with your orginial plans and we will support you at city council when the time comes. With all the good work you do and all the money you donate for the burn childern and their families all year round, understanding your intent we will stand behind you.
So we are going to make this personal.
First – an ABC license DOES NOT belong in Planning District #36 no matter who is asking for it. Anytime you bring an ABC license into an area that does not have one there needs to be more than just an hour meeting. People need all the information before a logical vote can be called.
Second – the Masons should not be serving alchohol in their temple and they should thank me for saving them from an evel that a good Christan organization should not get involved in.
Third – the residents of Talbot Park should have had the opportunity to vote on this matter within their civic league BEFORE it went to the Partnership. The Partnership should not dictate down to the partner civic leagues. You are suppose to be our voice not the other way around.
Fourth – the permit request was an open license to sell alcohol at more than just weddings. I don’t know if you watch cage fighting events but it is like dog fighting but with humans instead but they don’t fight to the death. Not the image you really want to have in your back yard is it?
There are a lot of activites and events that do not require alcohol and the Masons just need to seek them out.
The Parnership does not represent my views on this issue and I am sure there are others that would feel the same way. If ALL the facts had been presented to the partnership civic leagues, I am sure the outcome would have been different.