Green space.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 18, 2005

“When was it decided that strolling in dappled shade under a canopy of trees or roaming a sloping lawn is not a sufficient experience in its own right?”

That question was posed by Charles Birnbaum, founder of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, in the current issue of Preservation magazine.

Birnbaum was lamenting the fact that cities across the U.S. are fast losing their green space, that parking lots, concession buildings, skateboard ramps, offices, strip shopping centers, visitor centers, amphitheaters, exercise complexes and other developments are gobbling up all available soul-restoring space.

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“All are associated with more parking and more pavement, all adorned with off-the-shelf outdoor furniture and lights,” he writes.

Growing cities, like Suffolk, are in particular danger of succumbing to the temptation to cram more user facilities into every available open space.

We’re fortunate in Suffolk to have Cedar Hill Cemetery, dozens of acres of hallowed green space in the middle of town that will never be encroached upon. The city has also taken steps to add to the green inventory by removing the Birdsong Recreation Center and creating the Constant’s Wharf Park. These were all needed steps that greatly enhance the appearance of our community.

But there could be more. It’s not difficult to envision some space along the water on North Main Street where the Pruden ham was recently demolished. We know a shopping center is going in there n and we’re pleased about it n but just think how much more pleasant-looking that strip could be if some of that land could be acquired and made green.

We trust the city-owned former Obici Hospital property will include plenty of green space in whatever winds up there and based on the commitment city officials have made to smart growth, we fully expect that to be the case.

As the comprehensive plan is updated, we encourage officials to include efforts to expand and enhance green Suffolk.