The contributing writer did not articulate the stance of the attendees very well at the Armstrong Park capital planning meeting (Planning begins for what Armstrong Park could be in the future, Oct. 5, 2010).
I was present at the meeting, as well as over 30 parents, grandparents and children to get our point across that we want the park to remain a park. Although the presenters indicated there "were no predetermined plans," what is the truth?
We parents fear any predetermined decisions to possibly make the park an open space or replace a portion of the park with parking stalls will create more of a threat to the neighborhood's health. We don't want green space, we don't want it commercialized.
We want the property maintained as it is. The consensus was that if improvements are to be made, they need to be made for the benefit of the residents—not the commercial district or visitors to the South Side. The group as a whole does not want any part of that park commercialized to invite strangers further into the residential district.
Enough is enough. The public needs to be kept on Carson Street away from the rest of the neighborhood.
Armstrong Park is a gem. Why? This parklet is one of the few safe amenities for families with small children left in the neighborhood. You won't find used needles or condoms lying on the ground.
College kids come and go. The drinking crowd comes and goes. Families stay, integrate with each other, build futures, and show care and pride in their properties.
To maintain a balance in our neighborhood, we have to have a number of families in the neighborhood and there have to be a certain number of amenities that will aid in making our neighborhood kid friendly. Otherwise, why will we stay?
If Armstrong Park will be dubbed the gateway into South Side, crime, damage to park assets and vagrancy will no longer afford parents to meet for play dates, sit, converse and watch their children play.
If there is an invitation, they will come and because of the lack of enforcement, that property will no longer be good for anyone. And families will begin to leave again.