Obici site would preserve river heritage

Published 8:26 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2015

To the editor:

Suffolk citizens deserve an open space in the downtown corridor along the Nansemond River. We deserve walking paths and opportunity to enjoy the outdoors on public lands.

The Nansemond River has recently been added to the Capt. John Smith Chesapeake Bay National Historic Trail after the hard work of several local, state and national organizations. As a part of the “trail” designation, Suffolk will have new opportunities for education, recreation, and heritage tourism.

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The old Obici Hospital site on North Main Street is located on a waterfront viewshed and showcases the natural and historic value of our nationally recognized Nansemond River and its marshes. It is time for Suffolk to claim this shoreline property for its citizens.

Saving this site for public access and a park in lieu of apartments and a strip-mall shopping zone would be a long-term investment for all of the citizens of Suffolk.

The Suffolk City Planning Commission will be considering this site at its April 21 meeting. I hope they reserve the site for a riverside park.

Karla Smith

Suffolk River Heritage