The Cranberry Wars. Affordable Housing in Woods Hole. Wind Turbines. All too often, legitimate and meaningful public policy debates become muddled by the perceptions of the personalities involved. The issues become about people and not policy. That doesn’t mean, by the way, that there aren’t thoughtful and reasonable positions on either (or both) sides of a debate, just that the polarization (and sometimes demonization) of the people involved can obfuscate a meaningful dialogue.
Warren Dalton is determined to not let that happen on the debate surrounding the former Nimrod Restaurant. “I want to celebrate our history and integrate it,” said the long-time local. I took the time to chat with Warren about his plans for the Nimrod, and realized after a brief stretch that he not only understands the rich history of this site, and of Falmouth, he respects it. He celebrates it. And he wants to help preserve it.
Warren Dalton is not a nameless, faceless developer from some capitalist hinterland looking to cash in and leave town. He is a family man who has lived in Falmouth for a generation, raised a family with his wife Deb, and is committed to the community he calls home. In fact, he has a track record of honoring historic preservation. As an employee and contractor who preserved and upgraded one of Falmouth’s oldest and most respected businesses, Wood Lumber, he respected the rich history of the site, while working to modernize and upgrade it. Neighbors and customers alike praised his attention to detail and respect for the site and its environs. That’s good stewardship of our history. That’s a contractor who gets it.
His love for Falmouth, like so many others who served their nation nearby on what is now Joint Base Cape Cod, then adopted this community, began during his service in the Coast Guard, where he served on a search and rescue air crew. He then built a home and a family here and is steadily building a future – and a reputation – as a contractor who cares about Falmouth.
He listened at the Historical Commission and has expressed a willingness to save the oldest and most venerable portion of the site – the original 17th century structure that was hit with a cannonball by the British frigate Nimrod during the War of 1812. He is working with citizen representative Barbara Weyand on pursuing that compromise. He presented a plan and invited additional suggestions and input. During our discussion, he even noted that he is seeking photos and other memorabilia related to the site that can be put on display for the public to continue to understand and share in Falmouth’s brief but memorable role in our famed skirmish with the British. Short of some angelic benefactor taking the whole complex and relocating it, that’s a compromise that is both worth consideration and worthy of praise.
I’ve been involved with several projects where the developer put a hand in the air (sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally) at the notion of public input. This developer wants it. This developer invites it.
Local government legend George Hampson weighed in during the Historical Commission meeting with a pithy observation that demonstrates both his wisdom and insight. “It’s best to negotiate, because you only get hurt when you fight it and it just goes on and on,” said the sage veteran of decades of issues, conflicts, and Town Meetings. Right on, George. As usual, your thoughtful approach sets a positive and productive direction. Just because someone takes a position that some disagree with doesn’t make that person disagreeable. So let’s agree that Warren Dalton is a committed Falmouthite who is willing – and trying – to do the right thing.