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Arbor Appeal: Call to protect greenspace

Posted: November 29, 2017 - 1:25am

With growth come those proverbial growing pains. And Columbia County is facing no shortage of its own pains for gain.

One Columbia County resident is asking commissioners to think about the environmental cost speedy development is having on a historically rural county.

Marlena Bergeron, an avid supporter of the Euchee Creek Greenway, has revived her efforts to not only see the Greenway built, but also to save the expansive greenspace Columbia County is known for, amid the growth.

One example is the ongoing demolition of greenspace to expand Patriots Park to provide much needed parking and exits for visitors. Bergeron has made it her personal mission to do something to bring attention to the greenspace lost.

But she does not want to stop growth, which she has made clear with her strong support of bringing the Euchee Creek Greenway to fruition. But it's slow to arrive, while new neighborhoods, that require demolition of greenspace, seem to pop up overnight.

Don't worry, nobody is planning on tying themselves to a tree to thwart this growth. But Bergeron is adamant on keeping the import of greenspace in the public eye any way she can. And her biggest question is, how much do you have to tear down to build up? And the benefits of being able to walk or bike to Patriots Park is priceless, she argues.

Over the course of three meetings, Bergeron set her appeal to commissioners to rhyme. Bergeron took her five minutes of public comment to present her creative appeal to save the trees. Her positive energy and persistence seemed to keep the interest of the commissioners.

Today, we have decided to share Bergeron's three-part Arbor Appeal with our readers. She has OK'd its publication in our editorial section and suggests readers sound off her prose aloud for the best affect. This is part one of a three-part Arbor Appeal by Marlena Bergeron.

Arbor Appeal - Part I: By Marlena Bergeron

About a year ago, I pitched a plea

Begging on behalf of the trees.

They hold the soil, they clean the air, they give us music in the breeze.

They house the birds, they feed the bugs, they give us shade under shiny leaves.

And here we are today. So much construction underway:

Business chains, parking lots, road expansions, subdivisions -

Everything except the Greenway!

It's OK. Things of value take a little more time.

But I'm quickly losing patience when everything else pops up overnight.

We have a plan. We've talked a lot of talk.

But we still have no bike path.

My kingdom for a sidewalk!

I'm referring to a path along William Few Parkway.

Something that connects parks, schools, churches, businesses and neighborhoods, all a bike ride away.

Let's hold off, maybe for now, letting the Euchee Creek portion go.

Too much backbiting. Too many backyards disturbed.

Enough reasonable people saying, "Whoa, Hang on, Please, No."

This land ought to be revered. It ought to be preserved. What a slice of Eden!

Interconnecting and established ecosystems ought not to be disturbed.

Let's enhance what's already developed. Let's put some color on the concrete!

Let's secure what's left of the county's green bubble.

Let's get to know it and to love it with our own hands and our own feet.

 

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