The OC Voice is a portion of the OC Report newsletter where local residents may have a platform to talk about local issues they care about. Nancy Oates, a member of Chapel Hill Town Council up for re-election this year, takes an opportunity to remind residents of the importance of greenspaces.
New York’s Central Park saved me. Years ago, when my modest salary from my work at a nonprofit, or for the government, didn’t leave any money to take a real vacation from the noise and grime and stress of Manhattan, I could take an hours-long getaway to those 840 unbuilt-upon acres and return with my sanity.
Decades later, there are now numerous studies that document the mental and physical health benefits for people who live near greenspace. We need to keep that in mind as Chapel Hill becomes more densely built.
Our town is growing. People want to live here. And while that brings with it challenges of how to manage the increased traffic and rising housing prices that have outpaced the earnings of many people who work in town, overall we’d rather be a town that has more people wanting to come in than wanting to leave. Trees keep our town leafy and livable.
For our town and residents to be healthy and thriving, we must balance dense development with open greenspaces where people can decompress without having to pay an admission fee.