Working to Save Endangered Social Spaces

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Published

August 9, 2007
West Marin Citizen

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People have worked hard to protect our great unspoiled spaces here in West Marin and rightly so. But, we haven’t done as much to protect our social spaces – the ones that give our town its identity and character and through which the life of our community flows.

There’s been a tendency to take this social space for granted, but those days are over. Land can become real estate – and spaces, parcels—in the blink of an eye. That’s about to happen to some key sites in Point Reyes Station:

The empty lot next to the Bovine and Viewpoints. The Donovan lot at the Green Bridge that defines the entrance to town. The land along C Street that is involved in the proposed Giacomini land swap with the National Park. The Red Barn that is now the Green Barn. Love Field.

These all could be for sale soon if they aren’t already. Whoever buys them is not likely to keep them as they are. We could wake up one morning and find that the town has changed in a fundamental way – fundamental and irreversible.

There is urgency here if not outright crisis. But, there still is time to claim these spaces for community use, one way or another, once and for all.

That’s going to be the focus of West Marin Commons. At an open meeting at the Dance Palace on Thursday evening, Randy Fleming a Point Reyes Station architect who studies ecological planning and design, presented the results of his joint research with Ron Wagner, an architect who lives in Inverness Park.

Fleming outlined the situation regarding each of the properties in question, including the development that could take place on them if nothing else is done.

After that, the group agreed unanimously to make these and other endangered social spaces the top priority of the commons group. After that, the group agreed unanimously to make these and other endangered social spaces the top priority of the commons group.

We will work with the Park Service, the county, and other organizations to find ways to turn these into community assets for generations to come.

There are many possibilities. The Bovine/Viewpoints lot, (technically the McDonough lot,) is an ideal setting for a town commons, for example. The Donovan lot by the Green Bridge could be a trailhead for the new wetlands. (Not to scare anyone, but currently, it is zoned for up to 20 residential units per acre.)

And so on down the line. All of this is open for discussion, and it’s a discussion we have to start soon.

All of this is open for discussion, and it’s a discussion we have to start soon.

Meanwhile, other commons projects will continue. These include the reclamation of the public right-of-way along Mesa Road behind Main Street, the food forest and the Wiki-style local history among numerous others.

For more information, visit our Web site www.westmarincommons.org or send a note to P.O. Box 127, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956; info@westmarincommons.org. Or call: Elizabeth Barnet (415) 599-6134

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