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Re: SG-W:/ Re: Great Counties have great parks



Friends,

My reading of the Detroit News article that triggered our interesting
exchange on parkland is that several Detroit suburbs have lagged badly
behind the needs of their citizens for recreational and natural park
areas. Now the needs are blindingly obvious, but development has reduced
the available land and raised prices significantly.

I'm delighted that the passage of the Parkland Acquisition initiative
means that the city of Ann Arbor now has funds to buy both natural
areas and recreational areas before it is too late.  I'm concerned that
this is not yet true for the rest of Washtenaw County.  Existing County
parkland funds are targetted mostly towards *recreational* land
acquisitions. For all the reasons cited in prior messages, I'm glad
this need will be filled (as is my ball-kicking daughter).

However, the defeat of Proposal 1 in 1998 leaves Washtenaw County with
very little money to pursue purchases of open space and natural areas at a
time that the townships are doing almost nothing in this area.  As
valuable as they are, I think we'd all agree that soccer fields do not
serve the same purposes as wetlands and ravines along the Huron River.

The News article paints a sad picture of high-growth areas which left
dealing with the public parkland acquisition issue until after it was too
late. We don't have to follow this path.  A steady stream of substantial
public money is now committed to buying recreational lands around the
County, and to buying both recreational and open space property in Ann
Arbor.  These are hard-won, *major* achievements. The only piece that is
now missing is open space in the County outside of Ann Arbor.  Concerned
citizens can play a major role in making sure our community acts to
correct this oversight in the near future.  Before we are the subject of a
retrospective newspaper story titled something like "Who Lost Washtenaw
County?"

Doug Cowherd
Chair, Sierra Club - Huron Valley Group



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