Sunday, June 8, 2008

Let's get lifted again

About a month ago, Susan Jennings emailed us a copy of an eloquent letter that she wrote to Councilman Jim Strickland. Susan sent a similar letter to the Commercial Appeal but since they haven't printed it yet, she graciously gave us permission to post it here.

Dear Jim,

I am a resident of Lea's Woods and have lived in Midtown for 30 years.

For the past 20 of those years, I have walked my dogs through the Old Forest section of Overton Park. During those idyllic hours, I have often been stunned by the peace and beauty of the nature in this oasis between the busy rush of the Parkways and Poplar Avenue. Many times I've thanked God for the birds, trees and sunshine that surround me. I have thought of the native Americans and early settlers of our city who may have walked the same pathways. And I have occasionally lifted up the "little old ladies in tennis shoes" of the Citizens to Preserve Overton Park who fought all the way to the Supreme Court to successfully fight a government proposal to extend I-40 which would have destroyed Overton Park. Without them, Midtown would not exist as we know it today.

Then one day, as I rounded the corner of my regular route, I was stunned by the four acres of brown mud where noble trees once stood and owls once lived. It stopped me dead in my tracks. How could this have happened? I read the newspaper every day -- why had I not heard of this?

I was shocked that the Zoo could think their new exhibit could improve on the natural beauty of the Old Forest, and surprised that these four acres could disappear so quickly and without any public notice. Most of all, I was ashamed of myself for letting down those courageous people who first saved Overton Park.

Now I support the new Citizens to Preserve Overton Park group. I join them in their passion to save the Old Forest, save Midtown and save our city.

I hope you will take their cause to heart also and give them more than lip service. I hope you will take a serious look at what the Zoo is doing to destroy what makes Midtown and Memphis special.

I hope you make me proud that I voted for you.

Susan Jennings