‘Why not leave the park alone?’ Asks Letter to the Editor
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To the Editor:
The vision I have for my grandchildren differs from that of others who would develop the SoHum Community Park.
I envision a place where children can go out to go in, to paraphrase John Muir, and be at one with the children of the many other species who share that space: White-tailed Kites, Spotted Towhees, Wrentits, raccoon, fox, squirrel, lizards and snakes, dragonflies and stink bugs, among many others. Who has spent time with children in nature and not had their own perspective renewed by the delight and fascination expressed by a young one finding a feather, observing an ant trail or splashing in the river?
During the 13 or so years I have enjoyed this precious space I have watched many species diminish in frequency and numbers with relatively minimal human impacts compared to what is proposed. My grandchildren will not have the privilege of inheriting 40 or more acres on which to spend time in nature. They will need a space like the Community Park to feel the simultaneous smallness and bigness that being a part of nature, not separate from it, fosters.
As a townie and lifelong “straight job” worker, when this space became available I gave what I could and would do so still if the promise of leaving it alone were adopted. However, when development and closed meetings began to waft in the park breezes I lost faith in my neighbors and wondered whether a gift not freely given was truly a gift. The argument that the park needs money is not persuasive when I think of the $250,000 dice rolled on an EIR. It is dangerous thinking that because so much money was gambled there ought to be a return. Didn’t many people originally move up here at least in part to get away from the mentality that money rules all?
In a broader vision those dollars might have gone to enhancing the many run-down athletics facilities already present in the community. It was great seeing kids on the skate ramp, but it is now run down and in apparent disrepair. It is great watching kids playing sports on the fields we have, but sad to see the state many of them are in. Why not leave the park alone and take better care of what we already have? Not all kids play sports and many who do or don’t also need another kind of recreation. Many will be the biologists and park rangers we need to take care of public lands in the future.
Eighty percent of the responders to the request for public comment are against development. I am confident that a similar or greater percentage of park users, myself included, would gladly pay membership dues or a use fee.
Let’s all reread The Lorax.