Note: this Letter to the Editor was submitted to the Providence Journal earlier this week. Since then, amidst unprecedented grassroots opposition and numerous damning news pieces about that make it look like Lucchino &Co.'s grand plans are taking on water from all sides, I've received only crickets in response from the ProJo. I am left with the impression that their editorial powers-that-be (i.e. editorial pages head Ed Achorn, author of "acclaimed" baseball books, and others who probably live in the suburbs and never go to parks) are rooting for a subsidized stadium on what should be our new riverside park. Therefore, I'm sharing the letter on new media rather than old and will be pushing it out via social media as well as The Coalition Blog.
I spent one of the last afternoons of a fading, glorious Rhode Island summer in India Point Park this past Saturday. My wife and I pushed our six-week old daughter in her stroller along the water, enjoyed some Del’s, and unwound. There were dozens of other families, couples, and groups of friends, picnicking, fishing, playing soccer, kayaking, biking, and playing music. We left smiling, having savored a few hours of sunshine in this gem of a park. Folks from all over, not just the nearby neighborhoods, come to India Point to relax and play. Some parks just have that special pull. Therefore, I took issue with architect Friedrich St. Florian’s letter (“City Should Include New Ballpark”, Providence Journal, August 30, 2015), in which he asserts that we should make a special deal for a stadium on Parcel 4 of the I-195 land instead of a long-planned riverside park because, “We all know that public parks don't really work unless they are densely surrounded by residential neighborhoods….” India Point Park, separated from neighborhoods by a highway, was “working” beautifully this past Saturday, and the planned riverside park would, too. Unlike a subsidized for-profit stadium, the public park and its pedestrian bridge would honor and continue the decades of effort that has gone into revitalizing downtown Providence. I hope my daughter can look back in 30 years and be glad that we made thee choice to value public parks, and that we said no to a special deal for a stadium.