Another article about how activists at the University of Maryland are concerned about the pending destruction of 9 acres of forest on the campus, which the university administration is indicating will occur at the start of 2010. For more information, see my recent post about the attention the issue received in the Washington Post. Notable excerpts from the article are posted below.
“Environmental activists who have been fighting to preserve the Wooded Hillock expressed shock and confusion after East Campus’ primary developer Foulger-Pratt/Argo Investment pulled out of the project late last week, because no one seems to know what impact this turn of events will have on the forest.”
“At its meeting yesterday, the Senate Executive Committee, which sets the agenda for the rest of the University Senate, drafted a letter to Wylie urging her to investigate ways to reduce the development’s environmental impact on the hillock and to consider the hillock’s value for educational purposes. But Jonathan Sachs, an undergraduate senator from the school of behavioral and social sciences, said the letter wasn’t strong enough. The selection to develop the hillock, Sachs said after the meeting, “warrants and needs a second look.”
“This isn’t going to satisfy the people who I represent,” Sachs said.
The project — billed as the largest redevelopment in College Park in at least 50 years — had been stalled since earlier this year, but Wylie said the university will continue working on relocating the mail building, greenhouses and other facilities on the East Campus site that the university had planned to move to the hillock area. Because of community outcry, Wylie said the university is working with the community to find other areas to move the facilities to but noted no area large enough to accommodate them will be perfect.”
“Some activists, like Weissman, say this course of events was the worst thing to happen to the hillock.
“It is clear that Dr. Wylie wants to start bulldozing as soon as possible in a mad rush to put an end to the controversy,” Weissman said. “Whether or not they can start building afterwards is immaterial to her.”
“Hillock activists intended to pass a motion during last week’s senate meeting but ran out of time and had to postpone until the next meeting on Dec. 10. Calabrese said they may change the motion and demand more transparency in the development process because it’s important students understand the timeline of events.
“Our goal is still to preserve the hillock, and this doesn’t change our effort,” undergraduate senator and student activist Bob Hayes said. “We’re working as hard as we can to fight this and reaching out across the state.”