‘Citizens have spoken’ on Obici park

Published 9:06 pm Monday, June 1, 2015

To the editor:

Last year, the Parks and Recreation department hired a consultant to research the goals for that city department. On Sept. 8 and 9, three public stakeholder meetings were held at three different locations in the city — Creekside, King’s Fork, and East Suffolk recreation centers.

I attended and took notes at all three meetings. The consensus was that citizens in all three districts desired:

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4Walking/biking trails with connecting communities

4More green space

4And access to the waterways

Although the report has been talked about, the results have not yet been made available to the public.

The Obici property has stirred much public interest during the past five months. More than 2,000 concerned citizens have signed petitions expressing their desire to preserve this downtown treasure for open green space.

Letters have been written to our city leaders and to the newspapers. Several people have had meetings with our councilmen, mayor and city planners. This reflects the findings of those meetings held last September.

Our citizens are trying to communicate to our city leaders. What does it take to be heard and understood?

Suffolk is the fastest-growing city in Hampton Roads and has a land mass of more than 400 square miles. There is plenty of space for the development of commercial and residential communities. But the Obici site is the last large mass of land in downtown.

We are in a position to grow smart. Seizing the opportunity to preserve the Obici site as green space could be a lasting legacy of our current city leaders.

The citizens have spoken. We want to be able to look at this site 20 years from now and say our city leaders left a true treasure to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Jean Carmean