Read entire Op-Ed by Mr. Macon Brock at ePilot.com:
But thanks to this partnership and the many groups such as Shore Drive Community Coalition, Lynnhaven River NOW and other members of the community who worked hard to prevent intensive development on this land, it is encouraging to know this treasure will have the best, most capable, caring environmental stewards — if the rest of the needed funds to purchase the property materialize.
Saving Pleasure House Point
Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA) – July 31, 2010
By MACON BROCK
THE PLEASURE House Point land deal between the city of Virginia Beach, Wells Fargo Bank, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Trust for Public Land is exciting news and a tremendous accomplishment.
This excellent collaboration has been a godsend, and all involved deserve the community’s thanks for working diligently to try to preserve one of the last remaining undeveloped tracts of land on the Lynnhaven River. If it comes to pass, the protection and preservation of Pleasure House Point will be a wonderful asset to Hampton Roads residents and visitors for generations to come, and a vital boost to the water quality of our treasured Lynnhaven River and Chesapeake Bay.
However, we can’t celebrate yet because there are still millions of dollars that need to be committed by Oct. 31 in order to purchase the property and make sure this rare and precious open space is protected for good.
The conservation partners have applied for $3 million in federal grant money from the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, but the grant’s success is still uncertain.
Three million dollars will go a long way toward the purchase and is a small price to pay to protect, restore and preserve such a vast area of wetlands, maritime forest and beautiful shorelines and waterways.
Each of us should encourage our congressional representatives to do everything they can to ensure that the CELCP is adequately funded at $60 million so the Pleasure House Point grant application has a better chance of being favorably received.
Pleasure House Point could have had a sad ending, with development destroying its natural beauty and introducing more runoff pollution into the Lynnhaven River and Chesapeake Bay.
But thanks to this partnership and the many groups such as Shore Drive Community Coalition, Lynnhaven River NOW and other members of the community who worked hard to prevent intensive development on this land, it is encouraging to know this treasure will have the best, most capable, caring environmental stewards – if the rest of the needed funds to purchase the property materialize.
This beautiful area provides a unique opportunity for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and partners to conduct oyster restoration and research projects, preserve living shorelines and conduct upland restoration.
In addition, CBF can expand its award-winning Bay education programs for thousands of area students and teachers. Pleasure House Point is the perfect place to serve as a lower Chesapeake Bay community environmental/education center, an asset that would benefit everyone in this region.
The public wins by getting access to the wetlands, beaches and waterways. CBF and other local watershed groups will benefit from the ability to house offices and conduct programs and leverage much of the good work that many in the community have been partnering on for years. And the river and Bay will have improved water quality.
The city of Virginia Beach has done its part in looking out for the citizens’ best interests. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s vision and persistence have been paramount. The Trust for Public Land’s experience has been vital. And Wells Fargo Bank’s generosity and public spiritedness have been truly commendable, especially considering the unstable economy.
Let’s all help make sure this deal gets completed in time. Then, this pending ecological victory can finally be celebrated.