Page:Olmsted report on Portland, Oregon parks, 1903.djvu/8

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REPORT OF THE PARK BOARD

ln addition to taking advantage of beautiful natural scenery, parks and parkways may often be located so as to secure very important sanitary advantages through the improvement of ill-drained areas, particularly low-lying lands on lake shores or along rivers subject to floods. Marked economy in municipal development may also be effected by laying out parkways and parks, while land is cheap, so as to embrace streams that carry at times more water than can be taken care of by drain pipes of ordinary size. Thus brooks or little rivers which would otherwise become nuisances that would some day have to be put in large underground conduits at enormous expense, may be made the occasion for delightful local pleasure grounds or attractive parkways. Such improvements add greatly to the value of adjoining properties, which would otherwise have been depreciated by the erection on the low lands of the cheapest class of dwellings or by ugly factories, stables and other commercial establishments. Leverett Park, in the Boston Park system, is an instance in point. A cat-tail marsh, many acres in extent, where, no doubt, only the poorest class of houses, stables and the like would otherwise have been built, was made into a beautiful lake.

10—Park Systems Should Be in Proportion to Opportunities.

A city having many or extensive opportunities for parks and parkways should promptly avail itself of them even at serious financial sacrifice. Such a city may wisely mortgage its future wealth much more heavily by the issue of longterm bonds for the acquirement and preservation of beautiful natural scenery than a city relatively devoid of such opportunities, provided there is a reasonable probability of attracting to itself thereby well-to-do and wealthy families, because such improvements tend to draw to the city wealth, the taxation of which may more than repay the city for the outlay. The same is true as to sections of a city having natural advantages for residences.

11—Parks and Parkways Should Be Acquired Betimes.

It is particularly urgent that a city having beautiful local scenery adapted for parks and parkways should secure the land betimes lest these natural advantages he destroyed or irreparably injured by the owners. Many of the older cities would now pay very high prices for land covered with the primeval forest which the early inhabitants destroyed and which might once have been obtained for a few dollars an acre. Efforts are now being made in many cities to secure even narrow and unsatisfactory boulevards which might have cost nothing for land besides being wider and handsomer if those who originally determined the width of the principal streets had drawn the side lines twice as far apart. Even now, opportunities for widening, at very