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With great interest I
read “Fantasy Islands” (9/6). Since I live just four blocks from RFK Stadium, and thus near the site of the proposed National Children’s Island (NCI) theme park, I am a resentful neighbor, bitter that my quality of life is about to be eroded because of “improvement” projects, such as NCI and the Barney Circle Freeway. The east side of the District of Columbia is on the verge of being barraged with these special projects that will severely stress the city and Anacostia river, more so than they already are. My neighborhood will become a highway for commuters. And I, for one, am not going to stick around long enough to live in one of its toll booths! If these projects are ever completed, I see no other choice than to move out of that area.
Children’s Island will hardly be the “crown jewel, the eastern gateway to the city” that Larry Goodwin and Carroll Harvey promise it to be. It will be an abomination. Although it just may gain the distinction of being the final “nail in the coffin” of a very distressed Anacostia River. The runoff from NCI will undoubtedly make sure that the Anacostia River is never cleaned up. At the time, water from the river is undrinkable; fish caught in the river are inedible, as Joe Malone can attest. Kingman and Heritage Islands are, indeed, man-made islands of dredge material that have been used as a dumping ground. By Harvey’s own admission “[i]t’s a dump! A dump!” Goodwin and Harvey are, indeed, trying to do “something positive”—increase their net cash flow and receive personal benefits from the NCI project. Padding their pockets appears to be their impetus.
There are several development proposals that grass-roots environmental groups wish to see come to fruition. However, their ideas for development of the island differ dramatically from that of NCI. They wish only to “build a bridge” from the youngsters in the community to nature and its wonder, rather than erect several large buildings and create faux stimuli, thus removing these same youths from their natural surroundings that much more, while simultaneously “relieving” them of that $15 in pocket change. Clearly, financial gain is not their motivation. Teaching a universal understanding of our connectedness and oneness with Mother Earth is their agenda. The environmentalists are not in this for themselves, but for all of us.