Save Elings Park North, Too

Michelle Howard writes movingly about what it means to have a piece of nature within a town, especially for children [Voices, “Saving Elings Park South,” 10/29/09]. As a neighbor of Elings Park North, I would like to complement her article with a statement about how enjoyable a quiet piece of semi-developed land can be for children and adults.

Elings Park North can be crowded and noisy. I don’t enjoy it when it is; not as a neighbor subjected to the often poorly controlled amplified music of events held at Godric Grove, nor as a visitor when there’s not a single field available for children to just run around, fly kites, kick a ball, or play with the many happy dogs running freely. However, there are some blessed afternoons, when the park is wonderfully lazy-slightly inhabited, but quiet-an oasis of wide open green space for young imaginations and bodies to spread out, protected by peaceful chaparral-covered hills. Not for long, perhaps, if Elings Park North development is approved.

In its place will be nonstop activity: a new hillside amphitheater, a 13,000-square-foot community center, a lighted multi-use sports arena field, to name just a few of the “improvements” planned for this park. The Elings administration wants their park to be regional; to be used by people from Ventura to Santa Maria, with, besides an increase of visitors due to all the new facilities, 12 events per year hosting a thousand people or more. Increased traffic, noise, and evening light pollution affecting a large swath of Santa Barbara are inevitable should they get permission to proceed. All this under the guise of providing more opportunities for young people and families.

How about the opportunity to enjoy some quiet and make one’s own fun? - Carol Millar

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