After reading about the collapse of the Neville Ice Arena on the South Side ("South Side Ice Rink Is Latest Structure to Collapse," Feb. 16), I initially chuckled out loud. I had spent years as a member of the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association working with the community and the city to find a reuse for the underutilized and mostly forgotten building; I guess we wouldn't have to worry about that anymore. I want to say thanks to Judy Dyda, Rick Belloli and the entire South Side Local Development Company for their years of help in trying to move this project forward in the face of a lot of uphill battles and endless red tape.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a missed opportunity that building represents. Our community has a 65-acre park -- a fantastic urban amenity -- in the middle of it that many don't know exists. The park contains sports fields, steep slopes, plateaus, fantastic views and an abundance of green space that could be a welcome oasis from city life.
The building may be lost, but I call on my neighbors in the South Side Flats, Slopes, Mount Oliver, Arlington and Allentown to get involved. Many cleanups and events are planned for the park this spring -- the next scheduled invasive plant cleanup is Saturday, March 6. The March 9 South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association meeting will focus on strategies to improve the park. Talk to your neighbors. Get them involved.
Finally, I call on the city to make this park a priority and help the community transform South Side Park from a forgotten mess into an attraction much like Frick, Riverview or Schenley parks -- something that will draw new residents to our community and improve the quality of life of those of us already here.
South Side Slopes
The writer is board president of the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association.