Restore Chestnut Ridge to its former splendor
On April 12, I, along with hundreds of similar-minded folks, headed to Chestnut Ridge Park to enjoy our almost 80 degree day. With the park not yet open to vehicular traffic, the parking lots were close to being full and many cars were parked along the access road into the park as you head from the north. I am a frequent user of the park; in earlier days, to run on Sunday mornings with my relatives, and more frequently as a “power walker” in the lower level that includes the hill affectionately dubbed as “Big Mother.”
I had not been to the park since late fall of last year either because I was traveling or later due to the tough winter we had. I knew from the tree damage around my own condo complex near the park that I would witness some of the same within the park. But not to the extent I saw. It was very sad to see how much this winter had taken its toll on our beloved park; the same park that is so often referred to by our county administration as the “crown jewel” of the Erie County park system. Well, I hate to say it, but this “jewel” has many cracks in it, and not just the downed trees.
There are sections of roads that have been partially washed out and left unrepaired for years, potholes and shelters removed and not replaced (due to age and the elements). On top of that is the absolutely ridiculous vandalism damage caused to two of the shelter bathrooms in the park. I was back at the park on April 16 to walk again and saw all of the local news media, the sheriff (distinctive in his uniform) and other “suits” not knowing at the time why they were there. It was later that day that I saw the local news story of the vandalism.
Since those “suits” and media had a chance to drive through the park to cover the vandalism, I certainly hope they noted and report the ongoing deterioration of our “crown jewel.” Something needs to be done to restore this park as it was and as it should be for many generations to come. If it is left to go down the road it is headed, we will lose this park and certainly regret it.