Saturday, May 26, 2007

Quality of Life in Plainfield, Part 2: Parks and Open Space

In a built up community, the creation, improvement and preservation of open spaces is a must. Plainfields inventory of parks and open space indicates that we need more. We have lost some opportunities over the years and we need a plan to make sure we have places to walk in peace, to play ball, bicycle and have a picnic.

Some recent victories include creation of Plainwood Square Park and swimming pool reconstruction at Seidler Field. Some lost opportunities include conversion of a large, vacant lot on Woodland Ave into a church with a large parking lot and the lack of creative design that led to the plain concrete plaza at Park Madison.

I have been an advocate for open space since (and before) I took office as Councilman. Here is what I am fighting for:

1. Green Brook Walkway - we have set the stage with planning grants, site acquisition and easements. Now we have to start construction. The west end section should be the first to begin. The result will be an outstanding walking and biking path running the complete length of the city.

2. Open space downtown - the City Council has required the creation of a public plaza for the North Ave development project by the downtown train station. We must include similar provisions for upcoming projects.

3. I was a member of the Council that approved the Environmental Commission ordinance. Other towns have used these commissions to great advantage for open space planning and acquisition. It's time we got ours up and running.

4. Our parks must be a showcase for our residents and visitors. I have been advocating that chain link fences enclosing many of our parks be replaced with attractive metal picket fences.

These are just some of the steps Plainfield needs to take. This is not a secondary priority. Open space, quality of life and enhanced property values go hand in hand.

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