Friday, March 7, 2008

The little park that isn't

If you visit Rodney Park in the city's
southwest at Rodney and Third streets, you might wonder what has happened to this almost two acres of ground that was deeded to the city in the 1920s and once was a vibrant neighborhood park.

Today, rather than being a source of pride, it adds to the blight of one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the city.

Here is some of what you will see: a community building; an overgrown, weedy patch of bushes next to the building; an in-ground shallow pool for children; old macadam paving that has crumbled over time; an ancient, ugly swing set with some mulch underneath; and a chain-link fence that encircles the macadam-covered grounds. A portion of the park originally was a basketball court, but the hoops and backboards are long gone.

Now its sole use is for spill-over parking during senior citizen events at the community building.

The city is working on a comprehensive city parks and open space plan. We applaud that. As part of that plan, there is a resident survey on the city’s Web site. The deadline for completing the survey is March 16. The city will use the information from the survey to form policies, goals and objectives for parks and open spaces, according to the Web site.

Because there is resistance to the basketball court by some parties, an expanded tot lot and some much needed grass, a couple of trees, and a park bench or two would be much welcome in a neighborhood almost devoid of landscaping.

NewsLanc estimates that an expenditure of $100,000 would bring about a remarkable change and add many times that amount to the value of nearby real estate. In short, the outlay would be offset by stabilizing the value of neighborhood homes and the revenue from real estate taxes.

We hope the survey and the open space plan is compiled and used quickly so that it won’t be a wasted effort. With our population becoming increasingly overweight and unhealthy, everyone, including municipalities and governments, needs to get health and fitness more to the forefront.

See the additional post with more photos of Rodney Park.