Basic human needs must come before building a park!

Dear Editor:

I have read recently of a controversy in Guttenberg involving Bulls Ferry residents and a developer, K. Hovnanian, who plans to build a nearby residential community.

The main point of contention seems to be the desire on the part of some Bulls Ferry residents to have a public park included in the proposed project. Meetings are being scheduled between the two factions in the hope of arriving to an equitable arrangement for both sides.

It was at this point that I began to recollect a few scenes from the past that represented situations that were far removed from these circumstances but, in a strangely ironic sense, could have been quite similar because human needs were entailed in both cases.

At a bus terminal I recall having seen a man lying, shivering, with only a large roll of newspapers substituting as a blanket and, on another occasion, witnessing a man and wife trying to extract additional heat from an oil stove which was incapable of providing more warmth, this being particularly critical because they were the parents of a very small child. It was at this point that I wondered how wonderful it would be if the developer had been planning to construct a low-rent unit instead of what could possibly be considered a luxury community and if the Bulls Ferry activists were to campaign for such a structure instead of manifesting genuine zeal in their pursuit of a public park. The developer’s proposal of more green space on both the street side and river side of the lot and the Bulls Ferry insistence on a public park lose all luster in comparison to basic human needs.

I am sure that both sides of this controversy are acting in good faith within the parameters of their own life style, but this situation cries out for a perceptive awareness of what the general society urgently requires beyond narrow individual perspectives.

Self-preservation is an instinctive human trait as is pride in our accomplishments and possessions, but the unfortunate will require, if not direct assistance, at least an acknowledgment of their plight in order to open the door toward securing an answer.

Howard Lawson


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group