, Salem, MA

May 9, 2014

Letter: Danvers should preserve woodlands

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

The town of Danvers should act now to preserve its open spaces. Greenspace offers value to a community that extends beyond the economic, ecological and environmental. Greenspace provides benefits for our physical and emotional health, as well.

Reducing carbon dioxide improves air quality. Decreasing noise levels lowers blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and other stress-related illnesses. Protecting personal property from such threats as flooding and rain runoff provides a greater sense of security. Improving privacy, providing more opportunities for leisure and recreational activities, and enhancing aesthetics — although difficult to measure — all contribute to our personal sense of well-being.

The state of Minnesota has found that investing in parks, trails, recreational facilities and farmers markets pays off. Last year, the United Health Foundation named Minnesota the healthiest state in the nation for seniors. And for three consecutive years, the American College of Sports Medicine named Minneapolis-St. Paul as the fittest metropolitan area. In addition to generally accepted measures of good health, such as smoking, exercise, obesity rates, chronic health issues and access to healthcare, ACSM’s Annual Fitness Index evaluates “infrastructure, community assets and policies that encourage healthy and fit lifestyles.”

In “The Economic Value of Open Space,” a report on the Twin Cities, the authors say: “Decision-makers who understand the value of open space will be more likely to take the time to assemble the tools needed to implement their open space plans before priority lands are developed. They will pass ordinances and a land protection plan and will invest in a land protection fund.”

Our community leaders can show their understanding by protecting the prime parcel of open space situated behind St. Mary of the Annunciation Cemetery and adjacent to Clark Farm. The town should extend the amenities of Endicott Park, which also abuts this property. Save our trees and our sanity. Save Whipple Hill.

Sally Ann Connolly