MChampion 9-7-2003

Letter to the Editor, Ann Arbor News,
dated 9/7/2003, by Mike Champion

I was distressed to read Judy McGovern's September 7 column dismissing recent decisions by the Parks Advisory Commission as "the squeaky wheel gets the cash" rather than rational public policy. I refer your readers to the analysis at http:/, which clearly shows how the preservation of the Dicken Woods property is justified by the City's West Area Plan and the PAC's PROS Plan.

More importantly, the purchase of these parcels is consistent with the vision that many citizens share of Ann Arbor as a unique, vital, greenspace-bounded city rather than an anonymous corner of yet another megasprawlopolis. Several letters to the News recently have questioned whether Ann Arbor can do this on its own or whether it can shoulder a burden that should shared with other local governments. I believe this to be short-sighted: Our city's well-deserved reputation as a wonderful place to live, work, and raise families is founded largely on the way we integrate Nature into the fabric of the community. The best way we can oppose sprawl is to lead by example, showing what a "tree town" can be.

One might question any particular land acquisition (especially since there is very little pristine woodland left in private hands within the city limits). Whatever the "quality" of these properties today, they will greatly enhance the Ann Arbor that will exist in a generation or two if their ecologies are allowed to recover and the individual parcels are linked up.


Mike Champion, Ann Arbor