If we build it, please don’t come

I had never attended a community forum until last week. It likely stems from the fact that I’m Canadian and nobody really cares what a foreigner has to say.

Unless we end our sentences with a cute little “Eh.”

But this time I was invested: It was the third and final meeting about a neighborhood park near my house. My city has a glorious thing called a land development code that requires developers to donate to a fund. Our neighborhood’s nest egg has $1.7 million and they plan to build a park on 15 acres of undeveloped land.

The city planners had carefully implemented suggestions from the previous two meetings and overall, people seemed pleased. The park will consist of tennis courts, basketball, horseshoe, an inline skate park, a custom rock feature for climbing, playground equipment, small picnic shelters and a pot at the end of the rainbow.

Sorry, no leprechauns. That would be too good to be true.

Construction will likely begin in the fall and the park will not be completed until summer of 2010.

Watching the city’s PowerPoint Presentation was fascinating but the Q&A that followed was a lot like NBC’s Parks and Recreation.

Except a lot less funny.

Q: What do we do about the den of coyotes that live above the park?

A: Don’t feed them. They are not your pet. Look menacing and they will leave you alone.

Q: Have you considered putting in a Fitness Course? (This question was posed by my beloved fitness-queen neighbor.)

A: This is a neighborhood park, not a large community one. We will have lots of benches and shade. Just sit down and chill out.

Now, let me be clear: this is our park and not yours. I made the mistake of mentioning the possibility of writing about it and I was burned at the stake. “If you write about it, people will come” my neighbors seethed.

Evidently, they did not see Field of Dreams. All that is required is for us to “build it.” There is no writing clause whatsoever.

But consider yourselves warned.

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