Jul 3 2011

Opinion: Why not “Green” Landscaping for Arts Center?

Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to the Piedmont City Council and Park Commissioners regarding landscaping the city-owned property at 801 Magnolia. The matter will be heard at the Wednesday, July 6, Park Commission meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in City Council chambers.

June 30, 2011

Dear Council Members and Commissioners:

The citizens of Piedmont are indeed fortunate that the Piedmont Center for the Arts (PCArts) will open soon in the long-abandoned building at the corner of Magnolia and Bonita. While the interior will be a venue for bringing the community together to celebrate our city’s diverse talents, the expansive outdoor portion of the property ought to showcase creative landscape design—as well as honor Piedmont’s adopted Bay-Friendly ordinance.

Unfortunately, the city’s plan to replace the existing dead lawn with a new lawn will be neither artful nor sustainable. This precious land should be seen as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Piedmont to proudly demonstrate its commitment to landscapes that protect the environment. As demonstrated by the nearly 300 people who signed up for the recent Piedmont Connect Green Garden Ramble, our citizens are eager to embrace gardens and parks that conserve water; eliminate the use of power equipment, herbicides and pesticides; and utilize appropriate plantings for our region.

The PCArts garden should be a delightful natural setting that welcomes visitors into an artistic realm. Visitors could gather on patios made of permeable hardscapes, take a moment to look at signs identifying native plants, contemplate outdoor artworks, and feel good about Piedmont’s contribution to a healthier environment.

PCArt’s financial donors will appreciate that such a creative landscape can be far LESS EXPENSIVE than a lawn. According to EPA statistics, a lawn the size of the PCArts property requires approximately 1,000 gallons of water weekly. And Piedmonters will literally breathe easier knowing that a sustainable landscape will not need a gas-powered lawn mower, thus every week eliminating the amount of pollution of a car driving about 250 miles.

Many volunteers stand ready to assist the city in designing and installing a Bay-Friendly landscape that will reflect the true purpose of the Piedmont Center for the Arts. I hope you will keep in mind the ideals of sustainability embraced by a rapidly growing population of this city—employing best practices for the earth goes hand in hand with creating beautiful places for humans.

Anne Weinberger


(This letter expresses the personal opinions of the author. All statements made are the opinion of the writer and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.)

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