Wednesday, March 1, 2017

News Journal: Bring Ogletown Its First Regional Park

The concept of a regional park for Ogletown residents recently came under fire in the Wilmington News Journal, likely driven by developer interests. 1st State Bikes, partnered with STOP, responded with this letter. We're asking our followers to write their own letters too. Email: letters@delawareonline.com and include your name and full time phone number for verification.

Dear Editor, Wilmington News Journal:
In response to a recent letter about the Our Lady of Grace (aka Orphanage) property, nothing could be farther from the truth. It isn't so much about NIMBYs, but rather, the last chance for a walkable-bikeable regional park for Ogletown residents. And that's just one reason. Neighbors now are plagued with severe flooding and runoff issues that will be grossly hastened by paving over what is now vast permeable soils. For commuters, multiple intersections along Route 4 already fail level of service (LOS) requirements, according to DelDOT's Traffic Impact Study. Peak congestion is unbearable now, and this project would add thousands of more car trips per day.

A regional park, on the other hand, has enormous benefits. Studies conclude that those living within so many miles of parkland are healthier and are more likely to exercise, and this leads to lower healthcare costs. According to science, we are running out of time to halt climate change. We can't keep replacing carbon sinks with major sources of emissions, which defies the State's own greenhouse targets. And finally, the writer is wrong about jobs and tax rolls. Demand is flat because NCC is already saturated with tens of thousands of existing vacant homes. Any jobs that new housing creates will be very short lived, and at what cost? It's a fact that for every $1 in tax base that one household brings in, it costs about $1.25 in government and civil services to maintain that residence. That is why as urbanization increases, taxes follow suit. It's why DE residents pay a mere fraction of the taxes and cost of living expenses compared to our neighbors in NJ and NE PA, increasing steadily as you approach NYC. Is that what we want here?

Delaware has done a fair job preserving open space and farmlands, but most of it is not nearby or readily accessible for most of its residents. Minus a 20+ minute car ride, vast stretches of suburbia remain far away and disconnected. Ogletown is one of those places. We ask our Legislators and NCC Councilwoman to please bring a regional park to fruition.


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