To the editor:

I was stunned and appalled to read Nov. 16 article in The Salem News (“Residents upset over loss of neighborhood park”) about the Beverly Housing Authority’s plan to sell the green space at 14 Simon St., and further that neighbors have been locked out since July! How tone deaf can you be in pursuing a quick buck with development there vs seeking to actually improve the space as a mini-park.

According to the article, the BHA “was unaware that residents were using it as a park.” Really? Were they all using the acres of other parkland in the neighborhood? Is this the “eyes-wide-shut” holistic approach to thinking of ways to reduce economic and environmental (neighborhood) inequities?

Kudos to Alison Dudley of the Open Space and Recreation Committee for bringing this to light, and of course it is a perfect use of Community Preservation Act funds. In the interests of working as a community, let’s hope the BHA doesn’t try to wrangle every last cent of profit it can from the city/CPA (which is, after all, all of us), but rather seeks a fair exchange of value for this piece of its many properties.

I urge the City Council, mayor, and other departments to press for a more enlightened and community-serving outcome with this situation.

Peter Johnson


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