Dr. Walter L. Meyer, retired physician, and his brother William D. Meyer, retired public health administrator, have both been backers of a park and path along the Town Brook for many years. Read the letter to the editor that started our campaign to push for public access to the city’s land along our town waterway.
Although the big snow kept Walter away from last month’s city of Jacksonville’s public input day on the Town Brook project, William was able to come and pass along the brothers’ wish of a parkway through town.
Here’s some of their ideas passed on to Farnsworth Group on how a recreational path along the town brook would boost the quality of life for the citizens of Jacksonville 626250 . . .
- Grade schools now are more involved in teaching ecology – have teachers starting at 1st grade be encouraged to discuss the importance of not littering this beautiful asset. Take kids for a walk along the Town Brook.
- At some stretches walking-bicycle paths might be on both sides of brook, with connecting bridge.
- Adjacent land has great historical value – slaves were said to have been hidden along the brook & under cover of darkness taken to Talcott House or Gillette house for the Underground Railroad. The Ayers family (prominent in our community in early/mid 1800s, helping to found Passavant Hospital, Ayers Bank, Illinois College, Westminster Church) built their first cabin on South Main Street near the Town Brook.
- Improve the look of Morton Avenue at the entrance to Illinois College.
- Hopefully businesses and people who own land along the Town Brook will donate land, stamp their family name into the community.
- Restaurants like Hardees or McDonald’s can build bridges connecting the Town Brook pathway to their restaurants.
- The Town Brook Parkway can have connections to Community Park, letting folks walk to the park to use all the recreation. From there connect to South School, Nichols Park, Godfrey Park/Play For All Park, South Jacksonville, etc.
- Maintenance & improvements can be via contributions by civic groups, service organizations, Scout projects, learning opportunities for schools, churches, community gardens.
- Create open areas in blighted areas along the Town Brook. Buy flooded properties and add to Town Brook parkway.
- Extending pathways east to Foreman Grove & Our Saviour Field, south to Lake Mauvaisterre, Follow Mauvaisterre Creek north from Old State Road as it wanders, north then west, past Jacksonville High School.
- Developing the floodplain just north of Morton into a Gateway Park. Turn the area from a rusty-billboard eyesore into a warm welcome to visitors from the east.
- Use the soon-to-be old water plant as a shelter
- Seek memorial gifts – trees, areas to maintain, etc.
- Form a foundation to help Jacksonville parks.
- Use wildflowers, native grasses to beautify the Town Brook (yet be low maintenance). Use controlled smokes to control vegetation.
- These more natural settings would attract wildlife,
birds, etc. and connect people to nature.
Talk to Pat Ward about development of protected birding areas.
- Near DesMoines, Iowa, the suburb Urbandale is a great example. A a planned community, they have designed large area behind homes for parks, walking & cycle paths.
- Have ponds for fishing, ice skating, etc. There are areas along the Town Brook with poorly maintained homes where this might be considered.
- Continue cleanup of brook. Much of the litter comes from fast food restaurants, suggest they contribute to cleanup, or even offer a bounty of free Big Mac etc for every 5 pounds of littler delivered to dumpster at their business.
- These businesses along Morton that generate trash ending up in the Town Brook could contribute fiscally towards clean-up on a regular bases, perhaps an annual contribution.
William Meyer, the former leader of the Morgan County Health Department, remembers . . . “many years ago I took some samples of water entering our brook over on the west side of town, and then samples over on the east side of town as it exited our city. It was rather revealing to note the rise in bacteria count. On several occasions, I have noted fish in the brook and I am always amazed and pleased.
The health of the Town Brook has gotten better over the years. Now it can be improved even more and be made into a place that can improve the health of our citizens and our community. Please support the Town Brook Project. Like us on Facebook. Get our newsletter and stay in touch by emailing newsletter @townbrook .com (no spaces). And donate money to help the city fund Phase 3 of the planning process.
Citizens or businesses who would like to financially support the Town Brook parks recreation and improvement project should make check payable to City of Jacksonville – Town Brook Improvement and mail to Treasurer Ron Smiljanich, City of Jacksonville, 200 West Douglas, Jacksonville, IL 62650.
Walter & William’s suggestions were shortened and edited by Steve Warmowski