July 12, 2007

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Publisher's Note: Save our parks
By†Jody Reese

Itís easy to take parks for granted. They donít exactly call out for attention.

This week the parks of southern New Hampshire are the topic of our cover story. The story is a user guide to some of the better area parks.

In many towns and at the state level, parks are one of the first services to get trimmed when budgets are squeezed. Thatís unfortunate.

Parks serve a vital role in uniting a community. People gather at them for events. In some towns, itís one of the few places to bump into neighbors.

Parks also provide places to play and exercise ó an antidote for fattening up on the couch watching reruns. The open space of a park seems to fulfill some basic need people have of being in nature. People do seem to go a little nutty when they canít walk around the woods or at least sit in the grass.

In Manchester recently an alderman complained loudly that city government ignored his wardís parks, leaving them in a state of disrepair. That is the kind of quality of life issue that can get lost in the tussle of budget woes, but shouldnít be.

Wind power
No, not from all the politicians in Concord.

The town of Lempster recently approved a wind farm that will power 10,500 homes. Because of all the mountains, New Hampshire offers some great spots for power-generating windmills. But that has come into conflict with some who think the windmills spoil the view ó usually the very wealthy who own homes up on mountains or on the coast (another good spot for windmills). While itís important to protect some vistas for our viewing pleasure, the coal we burn in Bow to power our homes and businesses causes serious health and environmental damage. If we can replace coal burning with wind power, we should. It may spoil the view but windmills wonít cause asthma in children or global warming.

Development hits a snag
New Hampshire Fisher Cats owner Art Solomon is opposing a plan to build a condominium tower next to the city-owned baseball stadium where the Fisher Cats play. Solomon thinks the tower will create even more traffic congestion around the park, posing safety concerns.

While Solomon might be right, Manchester needs that city-owned, and -financed, park to produce more tax revenue. Most of the promised development around the park didnít materialize. Iím still waiting for the power station.

This problem is the fault of city government for mishandling the whole baseball stadium project from the beginning. For starters South Commercial Street (South Bedford Street) should never have been closed off, the auto repair shop across the street from Hilton hotel should have been bought out and moved by eminent domain, if necessary, and the city should have secured permission to put a road across the rail line to connect with Queen City Avenue.

Manchester has actually created a situation where it canít develop its own development.