Letters to the Editor 7/3/14
GREENS OVER GOLD
Illinois Times reported that the Springfield Park District has met with a golf management firm about potentially privatizing the management of its four public golf courses (Cap City, “Fore!” June 26). This is one golf situation that calls for slow play.
I recently have taken up the sport after admiring these four parks all my life from the outside looking in. One doesn’t associate exceptional customer service with public sector institutions very often but this definitely has been my experience over the past three years. Every park district employee I have encountered, from the PGA professionals to the pro shop associates to the hardworking grounds crews, has helped create a friendly, welcoming environment that compares most favorably to the private courses I have played.
Pasfield Park, Bergen, Bunn and Lincoln Greens golf courses are all sources of pride for the city and good neighbors to those who live nearby. I often see nongolfers strolling along the cart paths enjoying these beautiful parks, their well-maintained gardens and the abundant wildlife, including many bird species I’ve seen nowhere else in Springfield.
I don’t know and frankly don’t care if these golf courses make money or even pay for themselves. The greens fees are very reasonable and the green spaces they provide are a boon for the community. These “green parks are better than gold,” as Vachel Lindsay once observed. Let’s not mess with a good thing. Privatization never brings the promised savings.
SKATERS RESIDENTS TOO
Between the Springfield Park District and the city-owned parks, there are more than 40 parks in the Springfield area. Out of all those parks, one of them is a dedicated skate park, accessible to only those who have or can acquire transportation.
I realize the importance of having walking and biking trails, but we also have a decent sized (and growing) skate community in Springfield who are all but ignored.
If you know a skater, you know they skate whenever and wherever they can, which sometimes gets them harassed by property owners, accused of suspicious activity by the police and literally treated like a criminal. True skaters only want to skate.
Many skaters are banned from properties (and sometimes arrested) because of their love of skating. Inquiries have been made about creating a centrally located place where skaters are free to go, but thus far there has been no action.
Springfield is touted as the place where history comes alive. Let Springfield not be seen as pre-historic in not supporting the interests of its citizens.
Skating fits in with the anti-obesity initiative and kids who desperately want to participate and can’t get a ride to Centennial Park are forced to skate on sidewalks or in the street.
Let’s provide a well planned, centrally located skate park. I’m sure some skaters (George that owns Skanks would be great as an advisor) would be happy to give input on what a decent skate park entails, not just something someone who has no interest in skating thinks should be created.
BEST OF SPRINGFIELD
I have lived in Springfield for about eight years now, first moving to the capital city in 2006 to attend University of Illinois Springfield. Fast-forward to 2011. I was ready to leave, to get out of Dodge as they say. I had become bored and disillusioned with the “big small town” feel that Springfield is known for. Then I moved downtown.
Living downtown has completely changed my attitude about living in Springfield. From morning coffee and al fresco dining at Café Andiamo, to the occasional evening brew in Obed & Isaac’s awesome beer garden, many a day begins and ends downtown.
In between meals and beverages, I sometimes spend time browsing rare books at Prairie Archives, vintage albums at Recycled Records, and greeting cards and gag gifts at the Cardologist. If art is more your thing, The Spice of Life and Studio on 6th are great places to support local artisans.
My absolute favorite part about living and spending time downtown is meeting new people. Downtown is a small-scale melting pot whose ingredients include lifelong Springfield residents, young professionals and tourists from across the country and around the word. It’s not uncommon to be approached by out-of-towners looking for the best place to grab a sandwich for lunch, a meal for dinner, or just looking for directions to the Lincoln Home. Then there’s that one question that is all too common among visitors to Springfield, “What is a … horseshoe?” I’m always glad to answer that one.
If someone had asked me a few years ago what I liked most about living in Springfield, I’m not sure what I would have said. But now, when posed the same question, the answer is always some version of “being downtown.”
Benedictine University at Springfield