Property ‘could be a park like no other’

Published 7:27 pm Thursday, February 19, 2015

To the editor:

While attending the Louise Obici School of Nursing, we students often visited Mr. Pinner’s property across from the former Obici Hospital site. We were welcome to enjoy the beautiful landscape, the flowers, shrubs, trees and water. I have never forgotten the magnificently trellised Peace Rose, which was my favorite.

It was tranquil in that environment, and I was grateful for the opportunity to visit there.

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Favoring a park for the former Obici Hospital location, I think this would carry the wishes of Mr. Obici in the same direction as his original intent — to benefit the citizens. True, it is not the same as a healthcare facility, but it brings with it health benefits.

People of all ages, walks of life, and abilities will be able to spend more time outside in a pleasant atmosphere. The park would have a recreational value, with potential for trails, opportunities for observing birds and wildlife, picnicking, resting on park benches and enjoying the scenery, alone or with family and friends.

Taking time to “smell the roses” and renew our spirits is important.

Doctors in some cities now issue park prescriptions, encouraging patients, especially children, to spend time outside. The great outdoors — nature itself — presents an educational experience. Seasonal changes present an ever-changing view. Green space offers physical and psychological benefits, reduces anxiety and depression and lowers crime rates.

When a secure, well-maintained park is nearby, local residents feel a sense of pride and ownership, and property/land values are increased. Many employment opportunities would result in park development and maintenance.

Land wise, Suffolk is Virginia’s largest city, so another park is a worthy consideration for us and future generations. The park would underscore Suffolk’s title as one of the nation’s “100 Best Small Cities to Live In.”

Soon, our elected city leaders, concerned citizens, experts in many fields of health, education, environment, safety and economics, and others will meet to share their ideas relative to a new park.

I am confident they will come to a healthy decision regarding the fate of Mr. Obici’s generous gift to his fellowman. It could be a park like none other, a signature attraction, honoring his memory.

Sarah Powers Willman