Dreams of green
A challenge to those who would lead
9, 2000] Our
first house in Lincoln was on Union Street, a grand street with
blocks of massive old houses, no two alike. Our children were small
in our Union Street days, and when we put the baby in the stroller
and took the crew for a walk, we usually sought out Park Place or
Lincoln Avenue—streets with parkways (some people call them
boulevards). The strips of vegetation down the middle of these two
streets produce a calm, quiet, peaceful aura that is right for
we live on Lincoln Avenue, and every day we walk our dog up and down
the center parkway, through the dogwoods and crab apple trees. At
night, the old-fashioned streetlights cast an orange glow against the
leafy canopy that hovers over them. Traffic passes slower on these
fair lanes. Neighbors mingle more easily, passing one another in their
walks, stopping to chat. Maples and pin oaks and sweet gums enclose
the brick avenues.
Avenue, on the other side of town, like Lincoln Avenue and Park Place
with its grass-and-tree meridian but unlike them in its largeness,
carries the traveler from downtown to the high school, Friendship
Manor and the recreation complex. Wyatt is a beautiful way to link
these modern facilities on the outskirts with the older portions of
for a bold proposal, one I hope some officeholder or aspirant for
office will take up as a rallying point in a new, visionary campaign.
Why shouldn’t Union Street become all the grander with the addition
of a parkway down its center? What a lovely path to our downtown! What
if Kickapoo, Broadway and Logan were bedecked with grass and trees in
their middles? What if Fifth Street became a boulevard? Lincoln could
become the city of parkways, the boulevard community, with its main
arteries made soft and serene with rows of green.
(To top of second
most election years, our local contenders for mayor, seats on the City
Council and positions on the park district board attempt to outdo each
other by touting their keen scrutiny of the tax dollar. "I’ll
spend less than my opponent," says one. "I’ll do less than
the other guy," says the other. Niggardliness is the supreme
characteristic put forward by those who would lead us.
parkways down city thoroughfares might cost a few bucks. Maybe it is
an impractical idea. But who could possibly know? If we amortized it
over 10 years, or even 20, would the result be worth the investment?
If we can’t project such a dream today, in our time of prosperity,
how did our forefathers build our city’s great boulevards in times
of less privilege?
like to see the figures. I’d like to see bold plans to dramatically
improve our public spaces. I’d like someone to run for office with
the facts and figures attached to dreams that would enable us, in the
words of Emerson, to "hitch our wagons to a star." What
think ye, LDN readers? Please let us know by responding to firstname.lastname@example.org.