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Destruction of Gemmel Avenue park breaks hearts

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The DUI of hard-working charity director gets 12-plus column inches and a picture in the paper while the demolition of a valued (Gemmel Avenue) neighborhood park gets nothing.

DUIs are newsworthy; broken hearts are not. Of course, the park didn’t cost the city a million dollars to put in a whirligig, four teeter totters and two swings back in the 1950s, so it had no value to the city and therefore wasn’t worth a column inch.

The only expense to the city over the years was the cost of removing the equipment as it deteriorated. The neighbors mowed the property, cleaned up debris, planted flowers and played in the park. We only had one teeter totter and two swings and the second-hand picnic table they left us last year. But it “didn’t meet code” and “someone could get hurt.” So destruction occurred with no thought of salvage, no further conversations with the neighbors, just move fast because Linda is already asking council members if the decision of the Parks Committee could be revoked. Please tell me how many parents would send their young children alone on a bike path, over a major highway, passing hotel and restaurant complexes to get to a playground a mile away. How many will walk with their child to get to that playground? The city destroyed our neighborhood park that a child could walk to because it wasn’t “safe.” And then tell me how no one gets hurt at the city skate park because it is “safe and meets code.”

Linda L. Lemmer

Bemidji

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