Sunday, August 4, 2019

"A champion must be ready at all times" ~Cris Cyborg

Saving the Orphanage Property on Route 4 in Ogletown, as a regional park and trail system, should have been top priority for Senator Bryan Townsend starting in 2013. He could have been a champion for his constituents and their quality of life, but he chose not to. His campaign donors and a full time run for U.S. Congress made sure of it.

The trail system through the woods and wetlands portion (approx 2/3 of the property) were mapped by GPS in 2016 upon learning that it was threatened by an enormous mixed housing development. As many of you know, Advocates were in the fight of their lives to save this beautiful landscape as a regional park for Ogletown -- something so desperately needed, and now, can never happen.

Ogletown residents have been vastly underserved when it comes to parkland and open space. None of NCC's regional parks with amenities are within a safe walking or biking distance of their homes, while other regions including Pike Creek and the City of Newark are continually adding them. None of that mattered to Mr Townsend, who threw this forgotten region of his (gerrymandered) district under the bus -- with two hands.

The easiest way to have accessed the trail system was Pearson Drive, through Todd Estates II, south of Route 4. Pearson dead-ends at a major trail head with room for parking. It is now completely off-limits as a result of the Chestnut Hill so-called "Preserve".

We mapped out the entire trail system using a GPS.

The view from orbit. The lower left 1/3 is being paved over by a housing development, and the rest of the trail system shut down via DNREC directive. It didn't have to happen had a Legislator like Bryan Townsend championed the cause. He could have been that champion, from the time he first learned of development plans 2 years before Councilwoman Lisa Diller leaked it to citizen Advocates.

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