EDITORIAL: Intriguing Project for Village Green
A proposal by a group to transform the Village Green in downtown Pinehurst into a park deserves strong community support.
An extensive oval area between Given Memorial Library and the Village Chapel, the "green" is anything but green now. In fact, the area could aptly be called the "Village Brown," because the ground there is mainly covered by pine needles. Surely not what Frederick Law Olmsted had in mind when he designed the village a century ago.
No one much uses the area now. That could be because some residents might not even know where it is located -- if they are searching for a green space.
Bill Wetmore, landscape artist Mark Parson and Audrey Moriarty of the Tufts Archives are spearheading efforts to restore a small part of the Village Green, which is publicly owned, to its original concept -- a parklike place in the center of the village where residents can gather for community events.
A Central Expanse
Parson refers to this area as an "undiscovered gem" that could be turned into another drawing card to bring residents and even visitors to the quaint downtown. It would certainly go a long way in improving the appearance of that centrally located plot.
The 2003 Comprehensive Long-Range Village Plan calls for the village to "consider the potential for establishing the original vision for the Village Green by removing parking and establishing a common lawn area once adequate parking is available."
The plan, which will cost an estimated $300,000, would be privately funded through tax-deductible contributions. It calls for an open space in the middle of the oval, which would include a network of pathways, park benches and a gazebo.
Yes, some pine trees would have to go. But according to Parson, the actual lawn area would take up only about 15 percent of the space, leaving the rest of the trees untouched. The existing pines aren't ancient anyway. They were planted by the Tufts family after original plans to establish and maintain a lawn there were abandoned, according to Moriarty.
Those in the center are already more sparsely dispersed, reducing the number of trees that would need to be removed. Some of those pines would be replaced with other vegetation. And Wetmore pointed out that wood from the felled trees could be used to build the gazebo.
Little Opposition Has Surfaced
Organizers have assured merchants and business owners that this plan will not take away precious parking in the downtown. The heavily used sand parking lot on Cherokee Road will not be affected. Activities that might take place in the Village Green are unlikely to bring a lot more traffic to the downtown on a regular basis.
So far, the plan hasn't encountered any serious opposition. It seems to be winning public approval, a key ingredient to its ultimate success. Members of the Village Council liked the plan when it was presented during a work session last week.
This truly is a win-win situation, because it will not cost the village a dime and will certainly be an improvement over what is there now. We would urge the council to give organizers its blessing when it takes up the matter at its work session next month so they can proceed with forming a foundation to start raising money.
A restored Village Green would certainly add to Pinehurst's charm. Go for it, we say.
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