Open Letter to Baltimore County Board of Education

Hi,

Have you driven through Rodgers Forge lately?  My family moved here a year ago because we saw that it is a unique neighborhood.  The rowhomes were built in the 40s, but the trees have been here for longer.  On any given day during the school year, the roads are littered with children and their parents. The green space is filled with shrieks of laughter, kids playing tag, and people walking their dogs.

We know our neighbors’ names.

In a country full of people staying indoors, hidden behind their screens, in the world where I grew up where I had never met my next door neighbors, this is where I want to raise my family.  I have four kids, aged 8, 6, 2, and five months.  I want to send my kids outside to play and know that they are being watched by me, but also by the people who live near me.  I want to watch my daughter, wearing her frilly tutus and fancy shoes, climb trees that have a history.  I want my kids to spend lazy days lying on the grass, watching these trees that have witnessed more American history than many of our states.

We can’t cut these trees down.

I understand that renovating Dumbarton Middle School is important.  The updates look like they will be fantastic.

But the internal renovations can be done without affecting the exterior.  We do not need more concrete, we do not need more pavement.  The kids are just as capable of walking to school under and around the tree canopy as on sidewalk.  Tuning out of a history lesson in middle school while looking out at the history of our neighborhood is so much more inspiring than looking out at yet another parking lot.

It is 2014, for crying out loud.  We are supposed to be beyond this, we are supposed to know better than to destroy property.  We are supposed to care more about our ever-shrinking green space.  We owe our land more than this.

Please don’t cut down the trees.  I beg you.  My children beg you.  They want to grow up surrounded by the majesty and beauty of these trees.  I want them to grow up imagining the stories that the trees would tell if they could talk.  How many kids had their first kiss under one of those trees?  How many skinned knees?  How many dares have those trees seen fulfilled?  How can we destroy those memories and that history?

The opaqueness of BCPS’s plans for what will happen is alarming.  The lack of response from school officials is frustrating.  And the idea that these ancient trees will be cut down to make way for more parking is heartbreaking.

Come up with a better plan.  Baltimore County is filled with great minds who can come up with a plan to work around the trees, who can preserve our tree canopy, who can keep our neighborhood the hidden gem in the suburbs.

Save our trees.  Please, save our trees.

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Sincerely,

katyjane

Rodgers Forge resident since 2013