Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

Open forum: Once parkland is developed, we can’t get it back

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Open letter to the County Council and the Park and Planning Commission:

Commercial development of the Sligo Golf Course should be disallowed, for these reasons:

1. Profit vs. parkland. Developing parkland commercially, solely to offset the losses of other county facilities, would be a sellout. It would suggest that because we need money to run other facilities, and don’t want to raise taxes, we will development land for profit. For more than 70 years, the golf course land was used in a way that did not impose on natural surroundings. Commercializing would set a bad precedent. Why not sell all 34,000 acres of our parks to commercial development and reduce taxes for the next 100 years? I thought we paid taxes to maintain parkland. When books do not balance, tell those who can afford to pay pennies more in taxes.

2. Chipping away at wooded land for recreational ‘‘needs” must to be questioned. Hundreds of people appreciate walking, running, and observing nature in our parks. They may not write, but they care about natural places. We tend to suppose there is nothing wrong with ‘‘developing a little piece of land,” but it actually means forcing native plants and wildlife to live in smaller areas of habitat. Because natural land is disappearing throughout the county we need to fight to save what is left.

The golf course provides for some wildlife. To destroy that simply to balance books would be unconscionable. We can’t buy back the golf course as it stands once the land is torn up.

Sally Gagne, Silver Spring

The writer is founder of Friends of Sligo Creek.