I doubt if many people use Oakwood Park more than I. From baseball and football and basketball and soccer to skating and fishing and just throwing a frisbee, my family and I have used the park for 20 years. Let me tell you the three reasons why I oppose the sale of Oakwood Park and ask that you vote NO on the referendum on November 2nd.
First, it is a bad deal for New Providence. We are selling Oakwood Park for approximately 1/4 of what Union County has paid for other parkland. Union County paid $8 million towards Berkeley Heights’ new park. Why is it paying only $3.5 million into Oakwood Park, which is several times as large? Those who favor the sale of Oakwood Park admit that the sale will not solve all our recreational needs. If we sell Oakwood Park for a fraction of its true value, we lose our best opportunity to improve all of our recreational facilities or use the proceeds for other, more important needs. Simply put, we should not sell the park for less than its worth.
Second, it is a bad plan for the park itself. The plan will erect a snack bar in the middle of the park, pave over most of one field, and intersect the park with fences. It will replace all of the grass with Astroturf. It will eliminate some uses of the park, worsen others, and benefit just one or two, whose advocates just happen to be the most vocal supporters of the plan.
Third, it is a bad plan for the park’s neighbors. No one can seriously dispute that the sale of Oakwood Park will hurt those who live near the park. It will dramatically increase traffic through a completely residential neighborhood. For those who live next to the park, it will reduce the value of their homes by tens of thousands of dollars. Some who support the sale of the park say opponents have a Not In My Back Yard attitude. By using this argument, proponents of the plan admit that the plan is bad for the park’s neighbors. I hope that the residents of New Providence will not vote for a plan that seriously injures some of their fellow townspeople in return for such a small benefit to others. Those who want to sell the park really don’t care about the park’s neighbors. I hope that most of New Providence will.
For these reasons, I ask that you vote NO to the sale of Oakwood Park.
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