WSU was right to withdraw parkland request


(12/31/2014)

by Sarah Squires

From: Kathleen Lyman

I’d like to thank WSU for withdrawing its plan to build a baseball field in Lake Park. I appreciate that they realized community relations were becoming strained and contentious and that it would be best to drop the idea. I truly hope they can find another solution and build their state-of-the-art baseball complex in another area.

That being said, I am extremely disturbed by the attitude of both the Winona Daily News and the Winona Post editorials. They are entitled to their opinion, but it is only their opinion. The rest of us are entitled to our opinion as well. Just because it doesn’t coincide with their view does not make it wrong, ill-informed or backward. 

The editorials from both papers were condescending, overbearing and filled with opinions masked as fact. I found them very offensive. I don’t consider myself a complainer, against progress, misinformed, or a WSU hater. 

I am a graduate of WSU and a life-long resident of Winona. I want what is best for both of them. I want WSU to have its baseball field, just not in Lake Park. I don’t believe Lake Park should be a nature preserve. It isn’t now. There are people having picnics, playing softball, soccer, tennis, volleyball and Frisbee golf, running, canoeing, fishing and dozens of other activities. The difference is that most of the time these activities don’t interfere with each other and when they do, it is for a short time span: a few hours, a day, maybe several days at most. If there is an event, the banners or barricades are there for a day or two, then they are removed and people are free to use the softball fields, the bandshell, the pavilion, the bike path, etc., whenever they want, not just if they get a key and permission to use them. 

Lake Park is beautiful. Even with all the activities taking place there, it is a great place to just hang out and unwind. A concrete block press box, bleachers and dressing rooms for players blocking out the views, not to mention parking for all the extra cars, is not what most of us want in our park. Once the beauty of the park is gone, you can’t get it back. So much for everyone benefits and no one suffers. 

Regarding the idea that there were just a few people with concerns, prove it. Where are the facts to back that up? The fact that only a handful of people wrote letters or turned up at meetings proves nothing. I didn’t attend a meeting or write letters against the WSU baseball field in Lake Park, but I was definitely against it. I talked to a number of people about the idea. Some were for it, but a lot more were against it. None of those people I talked to wrote letters or attended meetings to voice their opinion one way or the other. Most people don’t take the time to do these things, so how can you say that the ones for the ball field were the silent majority? It is just as likely that the opponents of the plan were the silent majority. Just because an editorial says the opponents were the minority does not make it fact. Perhaps the reason the City Council members changed their minds is because that minority of opponents were actually a majority and were not silent when it came to calling their representatives, even if they didn’t take the time to write a letter or show up for a meeting. Maybe, just maybe, the City Council members did just what the majority of this city asked them to do.

 

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