Friday, August 23, 2019

CDC: Mental Health and (lack of) Green Space

Also appearing in Bryan-Townsend.com

Senator Townsend's taking Chair of the Senate Health, Children, & Social Services committee in 2017 is, once again, hypocrisy at its absolute worst. In this case, Mr Townsend denied a clear, common sense remedy by refusing to champion place-making, green space and a regional park right in his own District 11. An entire region of New Castle County has now lost that opportunity forever, with only more traffic congestion (and road rage) to show for it.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control, the effects of the community design choices we make and the opportunities those choices afford or deny us are only just now beginning to be understood. Such effects not only can influence community members’ physical health but their mental health as well. Effects on mental health can include both increased stress and cognitive impairment, which in turn can have physical health implications. Some of this increased stress can be caused by long and taxing daily commutes necessitated by development patterns that separate our work or school locations from our homes. This increased commuting-related stress may be related to the perceived increases in the rates of “road rage.”
  • Researchers have discovered that when some people who are injured or ill are exposed to open, undeveloped land, also known as green space, they recover faster than others who were not exposed. In another study, researchers examined the cognitive functions of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to determine the effect that the children’s surroundings had on learning and their ability to concentrate. The researchers found that exposure to parks and other green spaces improved the children’s ability to focus and concentrate.
See also: Access to Parks and Open Space by the Institute for Local Government:
  • Residents of neighborhoods that lack park and recreation facilities are more likely to exhibit health disparities. Increasing park acreage and facilities per capita and improving access to existing parks are important ways to support physical activity.
And THIS article, by the Trust for Public Land:
  • Parks and open space outside of cities produce economic benefits as well. Parks attract non-resident visitors who put new dollars into local economies. Proximity to parks and open space enhances the value of residential properties and produces increased tax revenues for communities. Open space captures precipitation, reduces stormwater management costs, and by protecting underground water sources, open space can reduce the cost of drinking water up to ten-fold. Trees and shrubs reduce air pollution control costs. And of course, there is the value to human communities of protecting the habitats of wild creatures who live near us.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

No Shame: Townsend & Osienski lying to the Newark Post

Also appearing in Bryan-Townsend.com

An article appeared in the Newark Post on August 15 about Townsend & Osienski's proposed trail network on what remains of the Orphanage Property wooded section. The two continue to lie -- repeatedly -- about their role in the loss of the land. They both took the stuffed envelopes and knowingly sold out the last and only chance for a regional park and some form of place-making for the Ogletown-S. Newark region. Business interests trumped revitalization, community building, and enhanced property values and that will be their legacy.

Excerpts from the article:

For the second year, trails proposed for the wooded land behind the former Our Lady of Grace Orphanage are stuck in limbo.

“Initially, we thought the area was in need of a county park and that’s why Sen. Bryan Townsend and I did pursue that route with the county,” said State Rep. Ed Osienski. “When that did not happen, we thought that the surrounding communities would still be interested. There are some trails back there that have developed over the years.”

Ultimately, [developer Bob] Sipple decided not to sign the easement due to the changes it required, according to emails obtained by the Newark Post. Sipple did not return a request for comment.

“I think we want to try to keep it for these trails, and if that doesn’t work out, then I think we would have a conversation with the other parts of the Route 4 corridor about what kind of local investments might be helpful to people, ideally from an environmental and leisure perspective,” Townsend said.

Townsend's "Plan" for himself AND Rep Osienski is to try and salvage some form of credibility in the face of blatant corruption that they themselves participated in.

Nothing can change the fact that both knew years in advance that the Felician Sisters were looking to build, and that they NEVER brought it to the public or Advocate's attention. Each time someone would confront them with this fact, they answered "well, we didn't think it would happen" or "we didn't think the Sisters could get a plan approved". Sometimes they even say they did go public, mentioning it at local civic meetings (that are sparsely attended if that). The fact is, THIS is how you go public, as they demonstrated themselves!

What Townsend could have done was recognize the threat of development in 2013, well before the plans were drawn up and the regional park alternative was easily achievable. At least he or Osienski should have immediately understood the invaluable opportunity they had to do something great for their districts and their constituents. THEY didn't do that, they didn't see the need for this invaluable open space as a public asset, because that would fly in the face of their donor interests. So watching as they lie in this manner, and trying and save face with a no-go trail project on private property is laughable at best.

Despite such widespread and enthusiastic support for a regional park, no amount of action or visibility on the part of residents and citizens counted toward democracy in Townsend's District 11 -- and in light of such obvious corruption, the rule of law. It became painfully clear that, from the very beginning, the fate of the land was already sealed. Townsend and his cohort Osienski were well aware in 2013 that development of the Orphanage Property was coming, and kept it a secret from their Constituents for 2 years -- long enough that it was too late to stop it.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Updated "About Us" for Ogletown Resilience

Ogletown Resilience was started as a citizen advocacy campaign with the goal of helping to preserve the environment and quality of life in the S. Newark-Ogletown region. Its signature cause was Save The Orphanage Property (STOP), an activist-led campaign to preserve the last significant open space left in the S. Newark-Ogletown region. The lush forests, fields, wetlands, and critical habitat areas presented the last place-making opportunity and last chance to have its own regional park.

Our suburban built environment relies almost exclusively on cars for even the shortest of trips. That, and the paving of our last green spaces has serious socio-economic consequences for society, including disconnect from nature, social and family life. Our mission to bring some form of self-reliance, community building, and protecting the natural order was defeated by overwhelming corruption among County and State Legislators and policy-makers, as you are about to read in these pages.

The Legislators responsible for this loss will lie, and try to convince you and future generations that they did indeed try to save the 180 acre Orphanage Property from development. However, there is proof, including a detailed dissection of their Timeline, and more importantly, the thought provoking unanswerable facts and questions that were raised that prove their failure to act. If they truly wanted a park, at least one of them would have been a champion for the STOP cause and made it happen. There is plenty of precedent around this State and around the country for similar actions, where the responsible legislator goes on to be immortalized.

For those of you wondering how this page was named, it was inspired at the local level by "Resilience", a national advocacy movement with similar goals with many State Chapters.

Senator Bryan Townsend, a Time Capsule


Visit our newest website & blog at https://www.bryan-townsend.com/ 

The site is currently under construction (not the kind of "construction" Mr Townsend prefers, of course) and it will "develop" and progress over time. We hope you'll stop by and check it out!