Frustrated in Upton


Submitted by Pamela Goodwin

Gardening is one of my favorite things to do. At Coach Road Apartments in Upton we are only allowed to have two pots. In my yard God planted His own “stuff”… Some kind of ground cover… It spreads each year. I haul out a big tree which takes up too much space in my small living room. Last year one of my pots was a cherry tomato. It grew so high it kept blowing over… So I finally planted it in the ground, tying it to a drain pipe. The tomatoes were delicious. When I need more vegetables I get them from my daughter’s huge garden & hot boxes, which I help plant, weed & harvest.

A few weeks ago I was eating lunch & heard a chain saw. A shrub in Barry’s & my backyard was sawed off & thrown into the maintenance man’s truck. A Cardinal was nesting in it the previous year. Winter before last it was seriously damaged.. I had asked in writing if it could be tied up…never happened . Last summer another maintenance man trimmed the top, cut out some dead sections & trimmed the side so it wasn’t extending into the pathway. I believe it was supposed to be destroyed then.

After a big snowstorm I had mentioned at a Housing Authority meeting that I would be contacting a town official about all the falling branches near cars, sidewalks & benches. ( For the most part …our part- time maintenance men don’t do tree work. A group of volunteers come once per year and they have never been ” up back “.) Heavy snow had some branches quite low over staircases, down near one’s face. ….I was made fun of .. “Who would I call about acts of nature? ” I was told the official didn’t have much say since this is Housing Authority Property, not town. Betty Prairie Roche, the Executive Director, stated that she would be getting in touch with him. Ultimately, he did come out & walked the premises with Karen Covino, a resident, and I. There were a few things that he pointed out to us and he said he wanted to email, Lisa Taylor, our manager specialist at Dep’t of Housing & Community Development. He wanted to also talk with, the town manager. I gave him Lisa’s contact information & assured him that nothing would be done without Ms Roche’s approval or work order. After the demise of this living thing I put up a small slate saying “R.I.P.”… a bit of humor, I suppose. Often one believes if a tree or bush is cut , another should replace it. I would have to check the dates; possibly this all happened before I announced my candidacy for Commissioner. After an exterior inspection by Sarah Glassman of DHCD & Jack Cooper of MA Union Public Housing last October..they didn’t like the mold on the dirt & the bricks on the back side of buildings C & D. Practically nothing grows in many places up back. I believe there is an attempt to gain some town property to alleviate the parking problem, perhaps widen a narrow ramp so a wheelchair may use it, etc.

Recently a Spring flag has been stolen from my back yard. I had to get rid of patio chairs & a small, round glass table that are “illegal” according to our lease. Those chairs are all over this place, they are safer to sit in than folding ones. I obeyed the written demand back then. In the last few weeks a small glass table that someone else had has been removed. I’m worried about what goes into my backyard now. I’ll have to take pictures to document what I have for pots, a flag, a folding chair. This “stuff” wasn’t a problem in 2013. In 2014 lots of things shifted.

Several Housing Authorities have greenhouses, pretty gardens, bird feeders & bird baths. As one ages or develops health issues it’s these little things that make a difference.

Maybe my big tree won’t see the light of day except through my window. I’ve had it for years & don’t want it mutilated or MIA.

I long for a peaceful, lazy summer, sipping ice tea in my back yard. We’ll see

Opinions are those of the author – Pamela Goodwin – and do not reflect the opinions of Upton Daily.


  1. I go to Upton housing on a weekly basis. It is very clear to me, there are favorites. Some residents get to have benches on their lawn. Others cannot! Why can some elderly have a nice place to sit, others cannot?
    Also there is very little clean up that gets done. Some residents take it upon their self to get out and enjoy the weather, work in their yards and help others. Example: Karen covino help a resident clean up her bushes. After she was finished. The resident was peace that she and her cat could now see out the window. Karen was told. Never to touch the bushes again. If they die, she would have to pay to replace them. Seriously, these Tenants are trying to make their living space look better. This is the thanks they get.

  2. The Upton Housing Authority is very poorly run as it is. The handicapped parking is just the tip of the iceburg. Non-handicapped park in handicapped spaces ALL the time. Go by the elderly housing right now and you will find 6-7 of 8 spots taken by non handicapped tenants. Current leadership does nothing about this and doesn’t seem phased by it. How would you feel if your mother or father who is handicapped had to walk 50 times the distance, down a delapidated hill because there was no handicapped spot for them?

    1. Well said, Joe. You made my day. I wish more people would make a comment. It would validate my concerns. I think this article is hard to find…think you have to search by title.. But I could be wrong… Have to check it out more.

  3. My friend was severely reprimanded for getting rid of a fungus & trimming shrubs. Flowers began to grow. She’s not allowed to touch the bushes which are way too high, blocking her windows . Another woman’s shrubs are also high. Everyone else’s shrubs are cut down… What’s up with that? A man in a mobilized wheelchair bent over & created a flower bed a couple of days ago. Did he get permission or just do it & hopes for the best, cause the lease has ridiculous wording. Re- writing the lease is a must for lots of reasons. It will be time consuming.

  4. Obviously, the housing authorities are not using common sense. People feeling ownership take care of their surroundings. Sadly, this group of governmental overseers don’t know what they are doing!

    1. I had a mouse in the bedroom and had to use mint as a repellent, inside & out. I didn’t want to kill the chipmunks, squirrels & rabbits out back. Thanks Chrystal. The mouse grossed me out since he didn’t die in the trap instantly & I found out he ran along the top of the bed. I immediately planted a bit of mint near the back pipes. Yesterday I dug up as much mint as I could find from my daughter’s to plant along the back wall. I was told twice to put lots of it back there. Several other residents were planting this year so I joined in. Last Fall Koopmans told me to fill up my car w dying, broken mums. None survived in my own yard, just the abutting neighbors.Since I don’t have the time & the money to seed the grass, I planted a few flowers, the rest comes back year after year, thankfully. Karen Covino gave me an Easter lily, a tulip because they get weed whacked down at D 3.. Since that last police report I had of vandalism in the backyard.. it’s been ” normal”. I’m not planting a tomato plant this year. Hannah, my daughter & I planted all the hot boxes and her whole garden in one 90° day. Adrienne did much of the work. There’s a beautiful ground ivy thriving where the bush used to be next door.I used to see the female Cardinal in the woods, not lately. Reverend Barry Keith, across the way, has moved to Grafton & my other best friend, Karen Covino, just moved to Uxbridge. I miss them but am happy for them.

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