Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Some neighborhood traits worth far more than money

Monday evening, I attended the Borough Planning Committee's public comment session regarding several new subdivisions being added to our community. I live in the Poppy Wood Subdivision, where Clint Hall is hoping to attach his new subdivision.

For those of you who attended the meeting and listened to the public comment you would have heard fear about losing safety for the children who live in the neighborhood, concern about over-population of the closest elementary school, anger at our currently under-maintained roads, frustration that the new homes tacked on to the back of our neighborhood will not have to follow the same covenants and restrictions, sadness at the anticipated loss of community and anxiety that the water table will not be able to handle the massive development plans.

When I sat down to write this letter, I had so many recriminating remarks and angry words for a developer who seems more interested in profit-and-loss statements than the people who share his community -- then, I realized that if I vented, my opinion would not be held with much regard.

What I'd like to say instead is directed at Mr. Hall. When was the last time a neighbor or anyone for that matter, did anything kind for you, not because they needed your favor, your money or power, but because they had a generous spirit and you had a need?

It happens all the time for me. When "road maintenance" put a big berm of snow in front of my driveway, my neighbor, Mr. Williams, helped me to break it down. When "road maintenance" told me that it wasn't required to come out and drain several deep lagoons that had formed in my neighborhood, my neighbor, Mr. Keating, spent several days and his own money to take care of the one at the end of my road. When the weather had dumped several feet of snow on us one night, my next-door neighbor, Mr. Swedberg, whom I had never even met, plowed my driveway.

This is what it's like to live in my neighborhood.

Imagine what kind of genius you would be called if the subdivisions you spend money tossing up, one after the other, were half as good as ours. You might not have as much money, by sacrificing some of your big plans, but think of the praise to your reputation. I've always believed that our reputation is everything. My mom has always taught me that our name is with us from birth to death, it's something we should guard and protect with care.

I also hope that when you heard my neighbors speak at the meeting, you didn't just view us as repetitive pains in the neck, but as your neighbors in this community with legitimate concerns.

The ends don't justify the means, no matter the saying. There has to be another way, even if it costs a little bit more in that profit statement of yours, because the significant loss to our neighborhood is so large that there is no way to place a price on it.

And the rewards for knowing you did the right thing may not be measured by numbers and spreadsheets, but by knowing you have extended a hand to so many of your neighbors.

I appreciate your time.

Carrie Burford


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