Our opinion: Green spaces serve us

If the city is looking at “passive” parks, essentially those parks that get very little use, with an eye toward selling, we hope the decisions are made with the long-term interests of the city at heart and not just an immediate fiscal fix.

The green spaces in any city, whether their grass is routinely trampled by visitors or not, are patches of visual respite that are links with a city’s past.

Unfortunately, parks are expendable in the growth of cities. They are places at which developers look longingly, seemingly empty spots in the midst of commerce that just begging to become part of the engine that drives the economy.

But, they’re not empty.

They are vessels of green that have avoided, and thus survived, the fortunes and misfortunes of development.

When the City of Savannah was laid out in 1733, it was one of the earliest “planned” communities in America. Integral to the plan was a system of verdant squares and the thought (called the Oglethorpe Plan) that as the city grew it would grow around new squares in a grid pattern.

By 1851 there were 24 squares in the city.

James Oglethorpe was a general by occupation, and the original squares were places set aside for military exercises. As time passed, however, they came to be appreciated for their aesthetic value.

In the last century and a half, some squares were lost to development, but most survive and today are an important part of what makes Savannah one of America’s most beautiful and livable cities.

Of course, we use an example on a scale completely remote from Warren, Pennsylvania, but we do it to point out the importance of urban green spaces to the quality of life in any town.

Warren is dotted with little parks and stately, ancient trees that give this community the distinction of being uniquely lovely. We would hate to see that charm lost in the search for utility.