When it comes to Heritage Museums & Gardens’s aerial adventure park, we agree with Judge Moriarty. It’s not a good fit for the neighborhood. And we’ve said all along that Heritage’s claim—that the treetop ropes course and ziplines are an educational exhibit—is bogus. It’s an adventure course, no more, no less.
When Heritage did not immediately appeal Judge Moriarty’s order to close the park down at the end of last summer, we hoped—perhaps a bit naively—that the case was closed. But then Heritage filed a brand-new application with the town. This time, rather than seek an exception for the park, it is asking the zoning board for a special permit.
Without getting into the regulatory details, what Heritage is trying to do is hit the reset button. Its officials admitted they made mistakes the last time around and they want another chance to state their case. Heritage’s legal counsel feels the special permit avenue is its best bet.
Heritage has said the reasons it brought the adventure park to its property was to stay fresh and attract younger patrons. It’s a struggle many museums are facing these days.
And to Heritage’s credit, it worked. The adventure park was a big hit, but to the detriment of its bucolic setting.
But that does not change the fact that it has been shoehorned into a sleepy neighborhood at the end of a quiet country road. What Heritage has done is force a round peg into a square hole.
Eric Small, who lives near Heritage and is against the adventure park, wrote a letter to the editor this week stating that those opposing the adventure park do not oppose Heritage.
That’s an important distinction that can get easily lost in all this clamor over the ziplines.
Heritage Museums & Gardens is a wonderful attraction. Its grounds, buildings, exhibits, and events are all cherished parts of the community. This weekend, Sandwich High School promgoers will gather in Heritage’s gardens before their big night to mix, mingle, and pose for photographs. It’s the perfect setting. This is what Heritage is.
We know Heritage is trying its best to remain relevant in the modern age. But it must do so while remaining true to what it is. And it’s not an adventure park.