An old railroad town is at a junction, again

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copyright the Chronicle October 5, 2016

by Brad Usatch

BRIGHTON — The reports from Island Pond were universally grim: The lights are out. The sidewalks have been rolled up. Jennifer’s, Common Sense and the Yellow Deli, Clyde River Outfitters, Ted’s Market, The Buck and Doe — all closed.

But as Brighton gathers to renew its town plan and refocus its efforts through another round of community forums, a core of business owners stands ready to reinvigorate Cross Street.

Seemingly anyone who knows anything about Island Pond offers the same assessment of its trajectory through history: Island Pond is a railroad town, and that was a good thing when the U.S. was a railroad country.

Brighton Town Administrator Joel Cope said that, at one point, 16 sets of tracks passed through the rail yard. Now there are two. He was one of many people to point out that Island Pond sits halfway between Montreal, Quebec, and Portland, Maine.

“Tough times are a way of life around here,” he said. “It’s not like we’ve been thriving and going down easy street.

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