Friday, May 15, 2009

We Are Not Alone

Every once in a while, it's good to hear that what we are doing/working towards isn't just some crazy isolated idea. While skimming the book Greenways for America by Charles E. Little, I came across a chapter entitled 'Rivers Through the City' and thought everyone could benefit from this small excerpt:

From Casper to Yakima to Asheville, greenways or greenway-like projects have been extraordinarily successful in restoring rivers to their former economic and cultural significance. New jobs, new tax ratables, new recreational opportnities, the conservation of wildlife, and the maintenance and improvement of water quality are the tangible benefits of urban greenway-making.
But there is another benefit that should not be forgotten. For a hundred years or more, urban rivers have been relegated to the ugliest of urban functions - sewage disposal, sites for heavy industry, a place to dump the refuse of the city. Inevitably, the river corridors became a kind of no-man's-land, dividing cities, economically and socially, rather than uniting them - the poor on ones side, the rich on the other.
Today, many or the ugly functions have been replaced or have simply disappeared. Much of the heavy industry has relocated, and the dumps and sewer outfalls have (or can be) eliminated. When cities discover this, the impluse is strong to establish a greenway project along the riverfront. And then a kind of miracle happens. The river begins to join the people of the city together rather than separating them; what was once an open wound begins to heal itself and the city along with it. I cannot imagine a more persuasive justification than this for greenway action.

So there it is. I hope all of you are having good summers so far and don't forget if you're in Dayton we have to get out on our river soon!