‘We live in an industrial zone.” So came an offhand remark by a friend as we stood on a recent morning in his driveway listening to construction going on around the corner. Traffic had come to a stop as a new piece of machinery was unloaded from a truck. Dried mud filled the edge of the road, dust that had flowed downhill from a cellar excavation and settled along the grassy margin. The beeping of something large now moving in reverse came through the air.
Construction and landscaping have been a backdrop here for a long time, but over the past few years it has become constant and everywhere. I can think of five major projects underway within a two-minute walk from the Star office. Dayton Lane is on occasion made unpassable by workers’ vehicles lining both sides of the pavement, and for a time the cops put up temporary no-parking signs on Buell Lane after dueling property overhauls began to block the way there, too.
It’s not that we are in a building boom, rather there seems a continual push to change and expand properties to suit new owners or existing owners’ tastes. The effects are many, even if we tend to get used to them. On a recent workday, a whirring hum came through the office walls. “Giant murder hornets,” Paul Friese called it. I went out for a look. A crew of men were pouring a gunite swimming pool, and the hum came from a mixer, which a worker would thump every now and then with a two-by-four to unstick some of the mix.
There still are a few naturally silent parts of town. I am lucky enough to live in one, where, at least for the moment, no one is building anything and landscaping is banned in the fragile dunes.
Elsewhere, though, things are banging. Cement mixers rush east on Main Street as construction waste trucks rumble west filled to overflowing with what is left from an older house torn down to make room for something new.