I am the chair of the Land and Historic Conservancy Committee (formerly the Open Space Committee) and am responding to Mr. Kiehn's recent letter in which he inaccurately defames my committee and the excellent work that myself and many other volunteers have done.
Contrary to Mr. Kiehn's claims, open space initiatives are alive and well in Chatham Borough. Our committee is not "stagnant," something that Mr. Kiehn would know if he had attended any of our meetings in the past year, which he has not.
Our committee is made up of Democrats and Republicans alike. We don't discuss politics. We discuss how to improve, make safe, and make accessible the beautiful open space Chatham has for its citizens.
We recently approved funding for the Environmental Commission to hire outside consultants to do studies and draw up specific plans for usage on our main open space parcels in Chatham. We hope this process moves along as quickly as possible so our citizens can enjoy these open spaces, but due to the nature of the work, these things take some time.
One of the main tasks our committee is charged with is updating the Borough's Open Space and Recreation Plan. An updated plan is of vital importance because without one, Chatham cannot qualify for any open space grants. Rather than hire additional outside consultants to do this sizable project, which would cost taxpayers thousands of dollars and drain funds that could be used to purchase additional open space, our own Conservancy Committee members put in numerous hours towards completing this project.
Recently, one of Chatham Borough's well respected Republican Councilmen applauded our efforts on this project. In an open letter to our committee the Councilman states, "I think it's great that you folks have tackled this update. I think it would have been a waste of money to hire a consultant to do this. . . Good luck with this project and thanks for taking it on!"
Perhaps Mr. Kiehn should do a little more fact checking before writing his letters. In the meantime, I believe he owes an apology to all the wonderful volunteers who are actively working to preserve open space in Chatham Borough.