Change can be tasteful

To the editor,

The front-page photo “Ville rouge” on the Feb. 10 edition of the Kennebunk Post made me cringe. I absolutely hate that light-up sign “LOVE KPT” mounted on the back deck of The Boat House Waterfront Hotel and Restaurant. Visitors passing through may think it was there for the Paint the Town Red festivities, but for those who live in the area, we have to look at it year-round.

I am now a full-time resident of the Kennebunks but, before moving here, I vacationed in this area for decades. In Kennebunkport, during the early-80s, the bridge was still a swing bridge, the hardware store was where the pharmacy now is and the Shipyard Shops didn’t exist, it was just a rusty old shipyard. Back then, what was known as The Landing sat in the same footprint where The Boat House stands today, but without that distasteful sign. The Christmas Prelude was a small event that ran one weekend only for the residents. Kennebunkport was a simple, quaint little seacoast town. No distracting sign in lights was needed to remind anyone to LOVE KPT.

As the years went by, things changed. The Shipyard Shops popped up. The Landing was torn down and replaced by The Boat House. Restaurants, hotels and businesses came and went. Kennebunkport’s culture was changing. Change happens, it’s inevitable. But where do you draw the line between updating, modernizing and tacky commercialism?

Did someone famous somewhere back in Kennebunkport’s history once stand on the banks of the Kennebunk River and yell, “LOVE KPT”? I doubt that gaudy sign makes the food at The Boat House’s restaurant taste any better or the rooms in their hotel any more comfortable. Are we on the Vegas Strip or entering the Midway of a carnival? It certainly does no justice to the port or river. With a name like The Boathouse, certainly something more aesthetically pleasing could have been put there, if anything at all.

Change can happen in a tasteful manner, it is possible. The transition of The Kennebunker into The Wanderer in Kennebunk over the past year is a perfect example. Perhaps others should take heed.

Linda Meares

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