The High Chaparral Open Space is my neighborhood’s nearby hiking space with views to Pikes Peak, manageable 1.5 miles of trails, a lookout place to the Front Range of the Rockies with 200 mile views on a clear day, and wildflowers and wildlife. It was gifted in perpetuity to the Parks and Recreation Department and will never be developed. Thank goodness.
Everything is encroaching on the Open space. Last year when the developer was scraping off the land and small oak trees, I stood in front of the bulldozer until they could prove to me the city had given them permission to decimate the Open space. The city did have those rights, and they have replanted the land with grass, but the trees, well, they are gone for my lifetime.
“What’s left of the ‘sacred square’—each side measures out at seven miles by a mile and a half—is for ordinary use: the city and its buildings with open country around it, but the city at the center. The north, south, east, and west sides of the city are each about a mile and a half in length. A strip of pasture, one hundred twenty-five yards wide, will border the city on all sides. The remainder of this portion, three miles of countryside to the east and to the west of the sacred precinct, is for farming. It will supply food for the city. Workers from all the tribes of Israel will serve as field hands to farm the land. Ezekiel 48:15-19 The Message
This is the current view of the Open space with more and more townhomes and apartments and even a hospital crowded into the once open prairie. The city is exploding with growth and this is a small oasis in the middle of town and my Old Farm neighborhood. Another new business will be built close to the large pot shop (and I do not mean the kind needed for potted plants).
Twenty years ago, the Open Space was private property, the Powers Corridor was a two lane road, and the risk of being hit by speeding cars was very small in our neighborhood. All of those views have changed in the name of progress.
What changes have you seen in your neighborhood in twenty years? How will you cope with more traffic, more people and more business in your town or city or village? What do you know about the building development process in your town?
It feels sad. It feels invasive. It feels violating. It is unaffordable. It cannot be reversed. They “paved paradise, and put up a parking lot,” as the song goes.
The impact of the “Great Pandemic Migration” to smaller cities in the USA is definitely disconcerting. What can we do? Move away from people and progress? We all have to adjust. We do not have to like encroaching progress.