Trees count more than kids?

Dear Editor:

I’ve been following the debate about Church Square Park, and I know I speak for a large number of parents in saying that we hope two fields are returned to the children before the warm weather arrives and demand for play space in the park increases.

Simply stated, in our city, where free play area is so rare and so vital to so many children, planting trees in the middle of these play areas is a poor use of precious space in Church Square.

These trees are new to the park – not replacements as some have claimed – and they have changed its character dramatically. As a result, 1,000 kids and the six schools next to the park have been restricted to an “open” space no larger than the dog run. That’s simply unfair. Worse, none of the schools has its own schoolyard. Church Square is the schoolyard – for six schools!

The recently-planted trees have taken over three of the park’s traditional four open play spaces. Two of those fields must be returned to the children and soon.

Fact is, the park woefully under-serves the needs of children in the 6-11 age range, who have outgrown the playgrounds and are too young for the basketball courts. The one remaining open space is dominated by older children.

Trees are an essential part of the urban landscape. It’s wonderful that hundreds of trees have been planted in places along the river and Pier A. Thankfully, we have other parks that do not have the school pressures of Church Square which could accommodate the trees. Or perhaps the trees can be put in the sidewalks around the park’s perimeter. With so many good places for trees, why do they need to be put in the only places so many kids rely on?

Many parents have mentioned how odd it is that none of our elected leaders has publicly stood up publicly to defend the interests of our city’s children in this matter. We are confident that common sense will prevail. But we’re still waiting.

Roxane Orgill


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