Save Elm Grove Park
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It has been brought to our attention that the City Of Oak Ridge / Oak Ridge School Systems is considering placing a preschool building at what is now Elm Grove Park. Many residents of Oak Ridge are still unaware of these potential plans and the negative impact it will have on our city.
While the majority of residents are in full support of the Preschool program and would like to see its future assured, we feel strongly that Elm Grove Park would be an inappropriate location for the building. Such a building would destroy one of our city's great assets: a lovely neighborhood park used by people of all ages and in all seasons. A study of the Planning Committee's report (which includes aerial photos with possible building locations sketched in) reveals several negative impacts for this location.
- About eight to 10 mature trees - including five magnificent large, healthy oaks - would be destroyed. These are a central feature of the park and provide almost its only shade. What a shame for a community that prides itself on being a Tree City!
- While, as the committee has been told, the walking tract would be preserved, the experience of walking would be greatly diminished. Walking around a large building, with no view of trees or of much green space, would be no better than walking on a sidewalk around a city block. In fact, it might be worse since, instead of seeing residences set back in yards, one would look primarily at a large public building.
- The entire area now frequently used for practice by youth soccer clubs would be obliterated.
- The still-available lawn space would be even smaller than shown in the aerial shots, since the area north of the sketched-in school outline is now largely occupied by the relocated playground. (The aerial shots were taken prior to this relocation.)
- There would be little space left for frequent summer picnics on the grass, especially those that welcome the shade of the big trees.
- The little stream that flows along the east side of the perimeter, and which always seems to have water in it, runs underground where it crosses the entire park about two-thirds of the way up (i.e., north) from East Tennessee Avenue. This below-ground stream could complicate building plans.
- Of numerous locations considered for the facility, the planning committee chose three "Potential Preschool Sites," with two being on city-owned land. As far as the public is aware those additional sites include: Pinewood Park and the Ridge Greenhouse site. (These are mentioned/included in the linked PDF below).
- When potential expenses of building at the various locations are compared (including, for some, the cost of purchasing private land) one should add the cost of what would be lost. In the case of Elm Grove, it would be destruction of a lovely park. Many a city would be proud and consider itself fortunate to have such a park. The monetary value of its loss might well exceed some of the savings that have been mentioned.
( Excerpts taken from Oak Ridger: Letter To The Editor - 02-16-2016 Letter To Editor )
Additional Residents Concerns:
Preschool Site Plans - City Of Oak Ridge / Oak Ridge School System Power Point Presentation on Site Planning
In conclusion, the city of Oak Ridge prides itself in being a "Playful City," as well as a "Tree City." It seems paramount to keep our parks and natural resources intact. If you are a resident of Oak Ridge and realize the benefit that Elm Grove Park provides our children and community, please sign this petition to let the City of Oak Ridge know that it should build the new preschool at a different location.
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RICK CHINN, JR.
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Robert S. Eby
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Save Elm Grove Park
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