, Gloucester, MA

October 26, 2012

Letter: Stage Fort is a park, not recreation center

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

I am glad we are having a discussion about the cyclocross Gran Prix at Stage Fort Park.

In response to Heidi Wakeman’s letter to the Times (Monday, Oct. 22) and her passionate defense of cycling; in my view, the benefits of cycling are clear and need no defense. I am unaware that any of the concerns are about the sport itself, as most recognize amateur cycling as healthy and good.

It is also my view there is credence to the statement about the event destroying “part of the soul of this beautiful place.”

As an analogy, if I had a few guests, from all over the world, use my home while I was away and returned to find dirty footprints across the kitchen floor, my bushes cut to make way for a badminton court etc., I would feel that the guests had no respect, love or appreciation for me or my home. (Unfortunately, I have seen photos of the deep tracks through the park after the rehabilitation work and there are still ruts.)

If, later on, my neighbors told me they endured loud amplified sound for days, I would feel the guests had no respect, love or appreciation for the environment they were impacting. In other words, during their brief stay, they had destroyed a part of the soul of the place .

On the other hand, it is entirely possible that these same guests, from all over the world, could have left my home in better shape than when they arrived. They could have added to the beauty of the place by planting a few flowers, raking some leaves etc. Later, I could have heard from my neighbors how pleasant and considerate my guests were and that the neighbors hoped they would come back soon.

Entirely different scenario, but not the situation we are in.

The soul of the place is easily found in its very name, Stage Fort Park. In its essence, it is a park, the most deeply historical one around. At the park, we have events, but, is not an event center — yet. We have recreational facilities, but it is not a recreational center — yet.

Our elected representatives are the appointed guardians of the soul of the park, and it behooves them to keep the spirit of the place in mind as they permit and regulate its uses — especially keeping an eye on events that become grand and outgrow the venue.