An Editorial Regarding the St. Louis County Budget
To our members:
The St. Louis County goverment has proposed the closure of over 20 St. Louis County parks, including such favorites as Lone Elk, West Tyson and Greensfelder. SLAGA is not about causes. SLAGA is certainly not about politics. But your Board of Directors feels that SLAGA must make itself heard on this subject. We sent the following letter to the St. Louis County Executive, each of the seven members of the County Council, and the Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation.
We are not taking sides in the political fight over the size - or the existence - of the County's financial problems. We are not arguing for or against a more equitable distribution of budget cuts, tax increases or deficit spending. Our message is simple: find a solution which preserves St. Louis County Parks.
Please take a moment to think about how - and how much - you benefit from St. Louis County Parks. If you live in St. Louis County, make yourself heard through your County Council Member. If you're from elsewhere in the region, your message still counts. Your visits to County Parks contribute to the economy in the County.
Dear Mr. Dooley:
We are writing on behalf of the 275 members of the St. Louis Area Geocachers Association. In pursuit of our geocaching hobby – an outdoor high-tech treasure hunt – we spend a great deal of time in every park in the St. Louis County system. We offer GPS and geocaching classes in cooperation with the Parks Department. Because of our broad exposure to the entire system, we are in a unique position to see the people who use the parks and the activities they enjoy. For just a moment, we’d like you to see what we see.
We see walkers, joggers and distance runners. We see picnics, parties, weddings and graduations. We see individuals, couples and groups – young and old. We see people boating, fishing and swimming. We see families with toddlers, ‘tweens and teens. We see organized sports and pickup games. We see people riding horses and people riding everything and anything on wheels. We see people enjoying art and history and open green spaces. We see the young flying kites and the young at heart flying radio-controlled airplanes. We see train shows, antique shows, car shows and craft fairs. We see children laughing on wooden horses at the carousel and shyly petting live farm animals. We see young people outdoors instead of on the couch – or on the street corner. In short, we see a cross-section of the region’s population enjoying themselves.
And we see behind the scenes. We see rangers keeping the peace, finding the occasional lost child, conducting hikes and interpreting nature for us. We see volunteers gardening, maintaining the trails, removing invasive plants and staffing the museums. We see the organizers, the facility administrators, the instructors, those who preserve our history and those who support the volunteers. We see the folks who empty the trash barrels, mow the grass and clean the recreation centers. Which is to say, we see dedicated people who make good things happen in the parks.
St. Louis County has an outstanding system of parks. Those parks are an asset to the entire region. Many, many people enjoy them today. We believe that they should continue to be able to do so. And we believe that we all have a duty to preserve those parks for the generations to come. Green space once developed will never be reclaimed.
We have been told that St. Louis County may have fiscal problems. We do understand that there is no free lunch. But we respectfully ask that you find a way to solve any such problems without decimating St. Louis County Parks. We also ask that you enact an ordinance prohibiting the sale of park land without voter approval.
On behalf of the SLAGA membership,
Thomas M. Wolpert, President
Michael Henthorn, Vice-President
Nathan Rover, Vice-President
James W. Nelson, Treasurer
Mary Beth Gianoli, Secretary
Richard G. Sheffold, Advisor
Jim Greene, Advisor
Steve Bromley, Past President
Last Updated (Sunday, 06 November 2011 09:33)