Library expansion should not eliminate village green

I love Grand Marais. I grew up here and I return every summer with my two little girls. My girls, even though young, are able to appreciate the beauty and simplicity that is uniquely Grand Marais.

Many of my fondest memories of growing up are related to these simple pleasures, and the village green is the location of many of these memories. The village green is the incredibly beautiful park in front of the public library. The green was a place where we town kids gathered to play baseball, Frisbee, have mountain ash berry fights and play steal-the-flag. It was a place of joy and happiness. During Fisherman’s Picnic and the 4th of July, the village green was where we had three-legged races and ice cream socials. It was a lush, vibrant, green oasis in the middle of town where we could all come together and play as kids should, and congregate as communities should. I know the village green was a critical element in the excellent quality of my childhood.

Each summer I spend time with my children on the village green—playing cards on the picnic table, resting in the shade of the beautiful trees, and admiring the historic voyageur and black bear statues (they need some TLC). We are never alone. We’re joined by other residents and visitors playing Frisbee, reading, or simply enjoying the lush green grass and trees. I wouldn’t dream of visiting Grand Marais without visiting this lovely park in the middle of downtown.

Theplans to enlarge the library out into the village green and to cut down some of the beautiful trees deeply sadden me. I urge Grand Marais citizens to find a different solution to meet the need to expand the library. Why not put it near the community center? Or make it part of the new community center plans? Thisseems a logical location with ample parking, which is a problem at the current location. Library users will go to the library wherever it is. I don’t think it has to be downtown. Thebeauty and value of this green, shady oasis in the middle of downtown Grand Marais cannot be overstated.

I urge you all to protect this beautiful park.
Emily Thomas
Kauai, HI

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