Is our “quality of life” in jeopardy? The SPLOST to be voted on in March of next year by Fayette County citizens could be used to acquire land for greenspace, thereby protecting valuable tree canopy. However, the county and Fayetteville City Council members need to designate that money now and put it at the top of the “to do” list, otherwise the money will be spent on projects that are unhealthy, monetarily and physically, for Fayette citizens.
Greenspace provides stormwater management; intercepting rainfall that would otherwise run off of paved surfaces and be transported into local waters while picking up pollutants along the way. Tree canopy also saves water, reduces the urban heat island effect, reduces heating/cooling costs, lowers air temperatures, reduces air pollution, increases property values, aesthetics and community benefits such as improved quality of life.
The land by Ingles is a beautiful forest with a variety of hardwoods and pines. It is the home of hawks and kites, owls — barn, barred and the great horned. These raptors live in this forest because it is biologically diverse enough to provide sufficient prey and it also has a constant source of fresh water. A creek that never runs dry and a lake with fish, turtles and ducks. If development occurs near the creek pollutants will enter the water source for Sam’s Lake Bird Sanctuary and our own water source.
There are areas in Fayetteville and the county already paved and denuded of viable tree canopy that can and should be re-developed and put to better use. Empty buildings that are an eyesore and negatively affect the community abound and money needed for the stormwater drain-off problems they cause and will continue to cause is a financially toxic drain.
If another forest is destroyed to put up a development, it is a poor use of our imagination and we have failed in our stewardship of the land that we are temporary caretakers of. The opportunity to preserve what little greenspace is left in Fayette county is right before us; and so are the bulldozers that will take it all away.
When is the last time you heard a whippoorwill calling in the night? Once it is gone, it will not be coming back just like the whippoorwill.
Please contact commissioners and council members, city and county, and tell them to make it a GREEN SPLOST to acquire the 100 acres of forest that already has trails, tall trees, a lake, a creek, fish and fowl, because you care about this community and know there is a better and smarter way to develop it. A way that benefits everyone; from the youngest to the oldest, from the wealthy to the poor, from the present to the future.