Obici park would be ‘economic asset’

Published 9:25 pm Monday, February 9, 2015

To the editor:

I am writing to express concern about the city’s plan to rezone the old Obici hospital site for commercial and high-density residential use.

While I agree with those who object to this plan because it will increase traffic congestion on North Main Street, because it will have a negative impact on existing businesses and rental housing in the core city, and because it will close off yet another potential public access to the Nansemond River, my primary concern is what this plan says about what we value as a city.

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I want to live in a city that values long-term public good over short-term financial gain; a city that values open spaces where citizens can recreate, relax, and enjoy nature; a city that honors the incredible contributions of its most benevolent citizen, Amedeo Obici, by creating a park in his name in the heart of the city.

Great cities throughout this country have done such things. They have preserved unique and valuable land for the enjoyment of all. They have favored posterity over short-term gain. They have understood that a park is an economic asset that contributes to the quality of life and vitality of a community.

Suffolk is now faced with an opportunity to do likewise. I urge our public officials and city planners to avoid the mistakes of the past and save this historic site for the benefit of all the citizens of our city forevermore.

Doug Naismith