City should buy Briscoe

It has been brought to my attention that the Ashland School District is in the process of selling Briscoe Elementary School and property. If this is so then it is the responsibility of the city of Ashland to purchase it as open space.

Having lived in Ashland for over 35 years I’ve been involved with the meals tax when it was put on the ballot. It was for two things: paying for the sewage system and creating a fund to make sure open space would be part of this city’s future.

Infill was the philosophy to keep Ashland from becoming a sprawling community that I’d seen happen far too much in rural communities in California. The answer to that is creating open spaces so neighborhoods have places to kick a ball, take a child/grandchild to swing or slide. Running around is what children need to do to be healthy and curious about nature. Every neighborhood needs open space, even if it is just for picking the dandelions, sitting on the grass and looking up at the clouds.

When school is in session the other elementary school playgrounds are not available to the public on weekdays, which makes having one open to the public at Briscoe even more important. On snowy days, Briscoe has been perfect to take a child to slide because the slope is safe and they can’t end up in the street.

Ashland is a treasure, but if we sell off our open spaces it will soon become congested with more cars. Lithia Park is lovely, but it is a tourist attraction. I’ve walked the park daily for 35 years and seen it become more and more popular, turning a contemplative stroll into a mass of humanity.

It is great that the tourists like our town. But locals need some quiet space to themselves as well. My children were fortunate enough to attend Briscoe. I was on the PTA there for 10 years and we did fundraiser after fundraiser to build a safe playground for all the children in the community. Please do not let this property fall into commercial hands and become a bunch of condos bought as vacation homes. Our community is better than that.

Cathy Freeman