Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who will save Byrd Park?

From "Save Byrd Park" at the Fan District Hub:
The City of Richmond is close to forming a partnership of a sort with Go Ape (of Maryland) to install a high-flying ropes course in the dense woods behind Dogwood Dell in Byrd Park. The course will be built and maintained under Go Ape’s hopefully watchful eye. Once completed, the concept will have people paying money to swing through trees and so forth.
Below are excerpts from comments posted by The Hub's readers:
  • The area at risk is a forest treasure...
  • ...Go Ape is a private company. They should put their course on private land instead. The city should not take the park away from the public and allow the Go Ape owners to make a profit at the expense of the citizens of Richmond.
  • This is a public park for all of us to enjoy. I can’t understand why the city would allow a private company to permanently alter and destroy what is there, to build something that only a limited number of the population would be able to use...
Click here to read the entire piece with links for background and comments from readers.

Next Thursday, Nov. 18, at 6:30 p.m., there will be a public meeting at the Carillon. This may be the only public meeting because the project's planners want to install the ropes course this winter. The ropes course developer, Go Ape, will be there to make a presentation and answer some follow-up questions from the audience.

City of Richmond officials will be there, as well. Maybe they will answer questions, but I wouldn't bet on it. Some of Byrd Park's neighbors and others who want to save Byrd Park's last naturally wooded acres from going ape will be there to ask some questions.

Click here to visit Save Byrd Park's Facebook page.


Paul Hammond said...

If you look around, you will note that opinion is not so unanimous as you propose. Many people seem to think this would draw new people to Byrd Park and the JRPS while at the same time being minimally invasive. The park already has a long history of human intervention. Hell, it's a park with a Carillon, an amphitheatre, a dogpark, a two century old canal system and a bunch of other uses. It is one of the finest parks in the city and I am in favor of sharing that bit of Richmond with as many people as possible.

F.T. Rea said...

Paul, most people in Richmond have no opinion on this matter. As they become aware of what is being proposed we will see how public opinion falls.

Meanwhile, I can tell you from firsthand knowledge that there is significant resistance to this proposal among the neighbors of Byrd Park.

Paul said...

Again you ignore my point to make yours. Byrd Park is not a wilderness park. It has a long history of human use including.swimming and boating.

You are right in one regard. Most richmonders haven't formed an opinion though because they've never been there, which is as some selfish park users like it.

F.T. Rea said...

Paul, your boosterism for crass development schemes is a familiar tune. This time I hope you are as persuasive as you were in your unflagging support for the Shockoe Bottom baseball stadium.

Anonymous said...

Geez, just address Paul's point. Once again you deflect and turn to criticizing the commentor instead of addressing the comment.

F.T. Rea said...

Anonymous, Paul made no point.

As Paul knows, no one has said that Byrd Park is a wilderness. It is a mixed use 274-acre publicly-owned park that dates back to the late-1800s. Now it has one small section of naturally wooded terrain remaining. My desire is to preserve that area.

In past discussions I've learned that Paul thinks being obnoxious is debating. Obviously, he's not the only one to have adopted that low-road tactic. But, I've give him credit, he does have the balls to sign his posts with (what I assume is) his real name.

Paul Hammond said...

The gracious host as always F.T. I'm not sure why it is that vehement disagreement correlates with obnoxiousness. I challenged you and asked legitimate questions. Ad hominem attacks don't bolster your arguments.

If I support something it is out of conviction and I am supposing it is the same with you. I'm beginning to wonder why you even have a comments section.

Real name and real picture are included.

F.T. Rea said...

Paul, I'm not happy having to bring this up, but I told you over a year ago that your comments were no longer welcome at SLANTblog.

Obviously, I made a mistake when you first commented on this post and I answered you politely. I won't make that mistake again.

From now on I'm not going to let you use my blog to play your needling games. This time I'm nipping it in the bud -- from now on anything you post here in the comments section will be deleted.

The end.

Anonymous said...

Haha, obnoxious debating? You are the king of the "I'm going to take my ball and go home" blog mentality. Why don't you turn the comments off? It's clear that the only comments you want are the ones praising your mediocre writing. You truly are a legend in your own mind.

F.T. Rea said...

It's good to be the king of something, anything, even an ignored blog.

Yes, anyone who can type can post comments at SLANTblog, anonymously, for what that's worth. But you can't comment as an entity that has been banned.

Get it?

Anonymous said...

Byrd Park is NOT in any danger at all. Construction of all Go Ape courses follow a strict protocol of preserving trees, plants and the habitats of various park animals. Consider if you will, that trees (especially healthy trees), are essential to an operation such as Go Ape. In the Rock Creek location of Rockville, Md, I have seen squirrels, chipmunks, deer and various other denizens of the forest running around with wild abandon, without any detriment to their ecosystem. I have seen a birds nest in one of the platforms, with baby birds nesting inside. All trees are inspected for their health before construction even begins, and continue to be consistently inspected on a routine basis. Also, as the health of all trees used for the course is important, construction is done is such a way to maintain the health of all trees.

Another aspect to consider, is that Go Ape introduces and provides a new and unique way to enjoy our American Parks as well as a fun way for families to be outside as a family and having a blast doing a really fun activity. Trails are still open to enjoy for walking, bike riding, dog walking and everything else that the park is currently used for.

If Byrd Park is typical of other urban parks, then it stands to reason, that it is also a gathering place for illicit activity. The presense of an entity such as Go Ape, helps to reduce such an illicit presence, and promot a more family-friendly environment for everyone who desires to utilize the park in a more wholesome way.

Rather than making a bunch of wild assumptions and accusations that Byrd Park is in any danger, do some real research and discover that everyone from Rock Creek Park in maryland, to nearby residents, course participants and employees are all very happy with Go Ape being part of the Park. Look for the news features from the Fox 5 news channel, articles in the Washington post, and the Gezette as well as various other sources of news like NPR, before you or anyone else goes on pure conjecture.

It is far better to find the facts, before the facts make a fool of you.

Anonymous said...

Officials for Montgomery County, Maryland Parks, and the city of Rockville, Maryland were all on board for the Go Ape course. Since then, it has worked out really well for everyone involved, and everyone is pleased, including neighbors who live close to the park where Go Ape is located. The section of woods where Go Ape was constructed remains pristine, suffering absolutely NO detriment to the environment/ecosystem. If anything, it has provided even more variety for various creatures to find a habitat. Local Park law enforcement, as well as park officials work closely with Go Ape to help the park remain a family-friendly environment by Go Ape's presence helping to eliminate criminal activity which might otherwise take place in the park.

If you are a skeptic, then you need to watch this video in which Go Ape was featured on The Parks show on ccp 6, which is the public cable channel for Montgomery County Maryland. This will further help to broaden the view of narrow minds.

Anonymous said...

I nearly forgot to mention that the Go Ape feature is exactly 9 minutes into the video, and runs for approximately 10 minutes. It's worth taking the time to watch. Thanks, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!