I am Annie Norton and am a resident of Alpine for 30 years. I have a personal attachment and historical knowledge of Wrights Field because I was one of the core opposers to the Stagecoach Ranch development. I know what it took to preserve this unique land and I am definitely opposed to the County’s current plans for this park.
I thank the County for purchasing the 98 acres and completing the remaining open space of Wrights Field. It came as a relief to hear that the plans were to basically leave the land “as is” except for perhaps 10-15 acres. This meant that the County “got it”; they understood how valuable open land and passive parks are. Passive parks give people the chance to reconnect with Nature and to understand Nature’s restorative powers–so important to our overall health and appreciation of our planet.
I am having a huge problem wrapping my head around this oxymoron: A park on top of an existing park. It boils down to a Fabricated Park–the one the County is now proposing– vs. a Passive Park–the one they led us to believe we were going to continue to have.
I advocate for the Passive Park and honor the land’s worth as such. There is a small patch of disturbed area that could be converted to a small parking area and is a needed safety feature.
Transparency is needed between the County, our local officials and the public to understand this park’s evolution. We have a right to know how the park exploded in size, snowballing into a park designer’s Disneyland-of-sorts.
The County openly admits, almost with pride, that it has taken them over 25 years to bring a county park to Alpine. It feels like in order to make restitution for their lack of motivation, responsibility or whatever you want to call it, they now need to condense every kind of contrived recreational experience into this piece of land, plunk it down in a location where it simply does not belong and then shove it down our throats. Those present at the last meeting with the County will remember the County biologist basically saying, “You are getting this park whether you like it or not.” Hmmm….that is not what I consider collaboration with the public.
I ask our local leaders to postpone their recommendation of the current park plans and to objectively reevaluate how credible this proposed park really is and if it truly meets the needs of our community. The grandiose bells and whistles that are packed into this design can be very persuasive. But not at this location. I challenge our community leaders to see the obvious and do what is right.
We already have a park, passive as it is. It is actually being used and appreciated daily.