In your article last week on the Greenway Trail System for the Port Peninsula proposed by Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington ("Residents"), your reporter, in trying to be fair, has unfortunately misinformed the public on a number of points, which we would like to correct herein.
1) First of all, we wish to assert for the record that the current Residents Board of 27 members is unanimous in its support of the trail proposal. For the past several years, Residents has attempted to work with the town in planning trails for the Morewood property. Our board has been consistently unanimous in its support of this effort. The current greenway proposal has been discussed at numerous board meetings, and there has not been a single voice of dissent among our board members on its scope, contact or mission. The report was prepared in full consultation with our board and, in fact, includes the input of several board members who helped to work on it. We do have one board member who favors the trail but who has opted to withhold her public support because of a close friendship with a resident who lives near the Morewood bluffs.
2) We question whether the civic associations cited in the recent article are unanimous in their opposition to the greenway proposal. We know of residents who live in these neighborhoods who support the plan.
3) We have consistently sought to address the concerns of the residents who live directly adjacent to the Morewood property by researching and responding to questions regarding safety, security, privacy, erosion, etc. Our findings have led us to believe that the greenway proposal, as presented, is sound and is in the public's best interest.
4) We resent the scare tactics and buzz-words being employed by opponents of the plan who, by the way, are mainly residents of the bluffs who apparently wish to retain the spectacular trails and views for themselves. That these fears are cited in your article only serves to inflame public opinion. Examples include unsubstantiated references to: beer busts, drug trafficking, strangers in the backyard, quicksand, landslides, crime, vandalism, etc.
5) We are certain that there are a myriad of potential dangers associated with some of the most spectacular public sites across the United States. Certainly, no one is proposing that the Grand Canyon be declared off limits because it is too dangerous to walk there. The fact is, that in today's world, open space is at a premium. The concept of walking trails and greenways has gained great popularity across the nation and around the world. There are countless examples of places where these trails run adjacent to residential properties, from the Marginal Way in Maine, to the Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle, to Cape Cod, to our own Christopher Morley Park.
The proposal for a Shoreline-to-Shoreline trail system presented by Residents is intended to enhance the quality of life for our entire community. We acknowledge that various concerns have been raised by certain residents of the neighborhoods adjacent to Morewood and by local government officials. We believe that by employing a spirit of positive cooperation, these concerns can be effectively addressed, and the recreational and aesthetic opportunities for Port Washington can be dramatically improved by the implementation of a Greenway Trail System. Residents stands ready to work with all citizens to make this dream a reality.
Curtis V. Trinko
Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington
Regarding item 1 above, this paper attempted to reach Mr. Trinko by phone on June 29 to ask if the Greenway Trail proposal had been endorsed by Residents' full board of directors and/or membership because members of the opposition claimed that it wasn't. Because Mr. Trinko did not return our call, we put a sentence in our article to indicate our uncertainty on the issue; we did not claim to know the answer: ". . . it was not certain at press time, whether the Residents' proposal has the majority backing of its full membership or its full board of directors, or if it just has the support of its executive board . . . "
Regarding item 2, our apologies for not being more specific. According to the presidents of each civic association mentioned: The full membership of the Highfield Estates and Park civic associations formally voted against Residents' proposed Vista trail. Within the past three months a strong majority of those attending New Salem Civic Association meetings voted against the Residents' proposal; those not attending knew the item was on the agenda. The South Port Civic Association did not hold a general meeting of its membership to address the question, but the executive board has nevertheless fought the proposal, based on discussions with many neighbors. Beacon Hill, which includes homes on the far north edge of the bluffs, and Monfort, which has no homes on the bluffs, have no position on the trail. North Salem, as mentioned in our article, has an executive board that endorses the trail and resident members who are fighting it.)