City Park Needs No Improvement
As longtime residents of Park Hill, we have loved and enjoyed City Park and its various amenities, including the museum and the zoo. Many worthwhile events have been held in the park such as the City Park Jazz Festival, the Black Arts Festival and numerous charity walk/runs. But the park is threatened by overdevelopment and commercialization, and we are concerned that a proposed new play area on the west end of the park will only create more traffic and lead to further degradation.
The City Loop Playground proposal looks like Elitch’s East – garish, plastic, gimmicky, raucous and unsuitable in our grand, historic City Park. The proposed installation includes a feature that Parks and Recreation calls “artificial rain.” The park has two water features now – the fountain in Ferril Lake and the water jet feature behind the museum – that malfunction more often than not. What are the chances of the new unit working as planned? The proposed configuration includes “giant tunnels” that invite overnight camping. Many trees now grace that area of the park. Will they be spared?
It is now hard to believe that early critics of City Park wondered why anyone would travel so far to visit a “cow pasture.” Unending expansion of the zoo and museum have taken up the pastoral acreage that is essential in an urban environment. More square footage has been taken from City Park year after year to allow these institutions to expand, and each expansion has also required additional asphalt and concrete to accommodate motor vehicles. The hideous “bus loop” is just the latest example of the conversion of green space to pavement.
A recent weekend tour of the area revealed that numerous families were enjoying picnics and athletic activities that included people of all ages. During the week, the area is quiet, a tranquil space with just a few people enjoying a moment or two of solitude. There is no need for “improvement” of this beautiful corner of the park. It is already serving the people.
The proposed playground represents a mindset that so-called “improvements” are always worthwhile, and ignores the concept of preservation. We are heartily opposed to the installation of more metal and asphalt in the loop area near the tennis courts and hope that our Park Hill neighbors share that sentiment.
Parks and Recreation has scheduled a public meeting for the weekend of September 6, although they have not announced the exact time or meeting place. We are asking for support in our opposition to construction of the play area on the west side of the park. Interested parties can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hank Bootz & Holly Joyce
Editor’s Note: Renderings of Port Architecture + Urbanism/Indie Architecture’s City Loop playground design can be viewed at bit.ly/19CwDvn.