June 24, 2010 by Amy Elliott Bragg
To the rag bag
Hey, friends. Last week we grumbled about our dismay that Fort Wayne might close. Then we had a nice afternoon in Palmer Park, and it saved the day.
Today, the Bing administration released a list of 77 parks slated for closure on July 1. Among them: Palmer Park.
Remember when we shared that poem about the demolition of the Lewis Cass house, written in the 1880s?
Here’s General Friend Palmer on the former Territorial Governor’s home:
At the time of the demolition of the Cass [House], it was suggested by some one that the City of Detroit buy it and remove it to East Grand Circus Park, but no one in authority took any interest in the matter, the idea died out and the old historic relic when to the rag bag, so to speak.
What an attraction it would be at the present day, not only to our own citizens, but to the citizens of the entire country as well. Just witness in the season how the crowds of visitors from abroad press and crowd through the rustic log cabin at Palmer Park, a structure so suggestive, in a way, of the early days, and besides it is situated quite near (little over a stone’s throw) Mad Anthony Wayne’s road through the woods to Pontiac, over which his army marched with its artillery and wagon train so long ago.
There are many things that vex me about the closure of some of these parks. (Like the 1200-acre Rouge Park. Which is 40% bigger than Central Park.)
- Wait, really?
- How is this even going to work? Will there be fences? Patrols?
- Is there anyone with the will and the capital to stop any of these parks from closing? If there were, would the City let them step in and take over?
- What kind of collateral damage could this cause in communities served by the parks?
- Can we do anything?
The City Council has a job to do and I respect that. It pains me, but I do.
But because I am who I am and I do what I do, I’m also pretty worried about the potential loss of these tremendous natural and historical resources. Because as the General observed in 1906, when they’re gone, they’re gone, and not just for us, but for everyone downstream of our moment in time who looks back and wonders why we didn’t have the foresight to take care of what we had when we had it.
Anyway. We’ll be keeping up on it.