Thursday, July 23, 2009

Build it and who will come?

The following letter from Marilyn Wellons was printed in the on line edition of the July 23, 2009 Cambridge Chronicle and in the hard copy on page 11, with the above title:

—News that Central Cambridge Baseball is barely surviving (“The battle to save Central Cambridge Baseball,” Chronicle, July 16, page 18) compounds the city’s squandering of our tax dollars at Magazine Beach.

Build it and they will come? Central Cambridge already has Lindstrom Field, barely 200 yards from the chemically maintained, expensive new field aglow with chemicals that Cambridge is installing on Magazine Beach state parkland. As reported, Cambridge Little League apparently hopes the new field will attract more players than Lindstrom.

Whether parents want their children playing on chemically maintained, endocrine-disrupting turf is one problem. Another is that in return for paying $1.5 million, Cambridge gets to restrict use of this and the other field under construction to those persons it approves. So while the good news is that fewer people will be exposed to the toxins, the bad news is that all the people who previously enjoyed unrestricted, safe access to fields maintained by Mother Nature are out of luck and out of the picture. Same goes for migrating waterfowl and residents animals.

We’ve already paid more than $60 million to clean up the Charles River. This project’s pricey earthworks — again, paid for by Cambridge taxpayers — are designed to keep the new fields’ toxic runoff out of the river. Will they prevent astronomical algae blooms like the ones fed since 2006 by runoff from the project’s prototype at Ebersol Fields in Boston? Maybe the kids staying away from Little League ball will come to the new field to watch the algae bloom offshore.

With a city government like ours, is it any wonder, as Yogi Berra said, “If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them?”

Green Street