No place to park at top of hill

Where can handicapped and elderly patrons of the Chestnut Hill Library park? Where can parents with small children using the library park? Where can people donating large numbers of books to the library book sale or removing cartons of unsalable items park? There used to be an easy and sensible answer to these questions: the parking lot behind the library, which includes a convenient handicapped space.

However, since April, 2012, when the owners of Spa Elysium and Top of the Hill Plaza took back ownership of the lot from the Parking Foundation, library patrons have not been allowed to park there.

The Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library have gone from distress to frustration to anger in our negotiations with the owner of Spa Elysium to try to solve this problem in a responsible way. The offer made to us of five spaces at the rate of $100 per space per month is unreasonable.

The Friends is a nonprofit group that cannot begin to afford such an expense and, indeed, would not use funds coming from the community intended for materials and programs for such a purpose. The attitude of the parking lot owners is thoughtless, inconsiderate and shows no understanding of the concern for community that is a hallmark of Chestnut Hill businesses.

In addition it shows a lack of interest in and respect for the educational and cultural roles of a community library. We would hate to believe that this negative attitude is shared by the other businesses that use the lot.

Recently one of our handicapped patrons who rides a motorized scooter was stopped at the entrance to the lot and told she was not allowed to park. It was only after pleading that the guard allowed her in “just this once.”

How is she supposed to use the library now? What about our many elderly patrons who cannot walk far? Many parents with very young children come to the library to borrow books and attend programs. Where can they safely park?

The Friends’ book sales are our major source of revenue. How are those who donate heavy loads of books supposed to do so without parking in the lot? Since there is not even a pay-to-park kiosk as there is in most other lots, such library patrons have no options.

The parking lot in question usually has many empty spaces, and certainly during library hours. Wouldn’t designating several for library use at no cost be the right thing to do?

Joanne Dhody, President

Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library


Chestnut Trees still with us

The article by Bleu Lane in the February 26 issue of the Chestnut Hill Local is a bit misleading. Entitled, “Where are Chestnut Hill’s Chestnut Trees?” it states, “There are hardly any full grown chestnut trees to be found in Chestnut Hill.”

However, that depends on how you define a chestnut tree. There are many different types of chestnut trees. My father had a grove of chestnut trees that produced wonderful, edible chestnuts and that still do. Chestnut Hill is full of glorious chestnut trees, the same kind that line the main street in Madrid, Spain, from which the street gets its name (Castaña).

Though we don’t have one of those kinds of chestnut trees on our own property, there are five beautiful, magnificent chestnut trees within a few hundred yards of our home. Chestnut Hill is full of those kinds of chestnut trees.

The type of chestnut tree to which Ms. Lane refers was also a magnificent tree, and unfortunately our countrysides were devastated by the chestnut blight, just as our cities were devastated by Dutch elm disease.

The good news is that there are now blight resistant elm trees, and we have one that is becoming magnificent on our property. Hopefully, the glorious American chestnut will start repopulating our forests. However, it’s not just imported, or even local biologic blight which is devastating our forests.

Mankind is the major destroyer, and there is little evidence that will change because our species thinks it owns the planet and can continue to take it over with more and more people. How sad, how ironic, that a species named sapiens has demonstrated so little knowing!

George Spaeth

Chestnut Hill