December 26, 2016
Dear Mayor Hemminger and Council people Andersen, Bell, Cianciolo, Greene, Harrison, Oates, Palmer, and Parker,
We are writing to thank you formally for agreeing to buy the American Legion property so the town can enhance our community park in eastern Chapel Hill! This positive action taken by each of you came about after much work, serious negotiations, perhaps some soul-searching, and help from many community members. We are indeed grateful. We are especially grateful for the leadership of our Mayor on this project! It has been a difficult year-long effort to reverse some actions taken in 2015. Now that members of the American Legion Post 6 have approved the purchase by the town, it is both to the Legion’s advantage to stay on that land for three years while cementing their prospects for their new facility, and it is to the town’s advantage to begin the public planning process for a much-needed park in eastern Chapel Hill.
It is encouraging to note that your approval of this land purchase reflects the community’s desire for enhanced park facilities adjacent to the Ephesus Park (as stated in the Comprehensive Parks Plan, adopted May 29, 2013). In that plan it is pointed out that the eastern part of Chapel Hill needs a community park, and that could be accomplished by adding purchased land from the American Legion to the existing Ephesus Park. The need has become even greater since 2013, especially given the close proximity to the hundreds of new apartments in the Ephesus-Fordham district.
We are looking forward to having the public join in the strategic planning process for our new park! Bear in mind that many citizens already have great ideas about what to put in that park. While we recognize that some commercial development may eventually go on a portion of the land, the park itself may have revenue-generating facilities, depending on how the planning proceeds. There are also ideas about how to raise money to help the town offset the purchase/maintenance costs of the land. The Comprehensive Parks Plan mentions pursuit of grants, and private citizens may also want to contribute.
We look forward to working with the town to create our newest community park! Many thanks!
Sincerely, Diane Willis, Joan Guilkey, Fred Lampe, Julie McClintock, Del Snow, Tom Henkel, Robert Willis, Betsy Bledsoe, John Quinterno, David Schwartz, Charles Humble, Roger Harris, Kathy Harris, Martha Petty, Mark Weisburd, Molly McConnell, Ken Larsen, Scott Madry, Jane Kirsch, Maria DeBruyn, Kristin B. Webb, Todd Woerner, Peter Calingaert, Isabel Calingaert, Janet Schoendorf, Jerry Schoendorf, Kate Underhill, Jason Reed, Linda Jen, Johanna Grimes, Lew G. Brown, Sally Binkowski, Francis S. Binkowski, Richard Chady, Lynn Martin, Ellen Boylan, Deborah Finn, Rudy Juliano, Sandy Turbeville, Glen Elder Jr., John Anderson, Betsey Anderson, David Stroud, Ashelyn Stroud, David Adams, Maureen Adams, Teresa Blue, Tom Blue, Neva Whybark, Sheila Creth, Terry Vance, Bob Vance, Laurel Goldman, Vivian Foushee