Tubbs Hill tussle turns into tango

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These two letters were intended to be published together, but only one made it into Friday's Opinion pages. Here are both for your perusal - and comments. - MP

***

Virgil Edwards, of the Disability Action Center, and I recently met and have spent time getting to know each other face-to-face because of "air time" in your paper.

I was one of three to submit a letter to the editor supporting the naturalness of Tubbs Hill...nothing more, nothing less. Our letter was published on March 11, and Virgil's response regarding ADA access on Tubbs was published in "My Turn" the next day. (Someone involved with the McEuen planning process had delivered our letter to Virgil before it was published.)

The good that came of this is that the two of us met due to this unfortunate "stirring of the pot."

As a result, we have come to recognize, and more clearly understand, each other's passions: one of us for Tubbs Hill with empathy for the disabled and their access to places of beauty... and the other of us for the disabled with empathy for the naturalness of Tubbs Hill.

We have also discovered we are in total agreement on many aspects regarding the proposed development of McEuen Field. For one, both of us do not want Tubbs Hill to become a de facto adjunct to The Coeur d'Alene Resort. We are also hoping McEuen Field (omitting the separate entity of Tubbs Hill from the proposed plan) will become more like our City Park, in keeping with the character of our community, and less like a 5-star resort.

As for the proposed trail on the north face of Tubbs, we are looking forward, instead, to possible improved access at Tenth Street as stated in the Tubbs Hill Foundation notes from their March meeting... quite apart from the resort and with a much lovelier view.

We also believe the proposed path that is to hug the base of Tubbs Hill, on McEuen, will be a wonderful, accessible trail that could easily have the feel of Tubbs with appropriate landscaping (which would not require excessive maintenance) on the McEuen side of the path. We look forward to having two new points of accessibility...without touching the steep north face of the hill.

Yours for working together...

LINDA WRIGHT

Disability Action Center

Coeur d'Alene

***

TUBBS: One for

all and all for hill

A while back I posted a letter to the Coeur d’Alene Press on My Turn.

It was written in response to a letter written by Barbra Fillmore, Linda Wright and Barbara Zimmer.

The letter was about Tubbs Hill.

Since then I have met with Linda Wright, one of the original writers.

We met as just two people, each with his or her passions and ideals.

Linda and the Tubbs Hill people felt as though they were being invaded and pushed into having major changes without their input. The idea of an accessible trail was lumped in with everything else, and so was questioned as part of the total project.

I found Linda to be very genuine and sincere, wanting to make sure that she was not looked at as someone against people with disabilities. Because of our discussions, we have decided to work together and create a partnership rather than continue as adversaries. I would ask everyone in our community to do the same.

Right now we have a disaster in our own back yard. We have families with children, single parents, veterans and many others that are homeless, and do not know where or when their next meal will come. We have elderly and disabled people that may lose their independence and may be unable to stay in their homes only to be shipped off to an institution, which costs much more and goes against most of our citizens’ desires. If enough people went from home support to the institutions the state would go bankrupt overnight.

Wouldn’t it be a GREAT thing to have our community rally around these issues like they have around the McEuen Field and Tubbs Hill? Imagine a whole room full of people geared up to fight homelessness, hunger, and increase independence. I feel it is time to quit throwing verbal stones at each other and find a way to work together.

I hope that Linda and I working together can serve as a positive model to show how people with passion can work together for a common good even when it seems that both parties are on different sides of the fence. I, and Disability Action Center, will always advocate for environments that are built to be accessible and usable by people with any kind of disability. We must be careful that our advocacy is not interpreted to take any particular stance on unrelated issues such as new development, etc. In that way we can ensure that well-meaning people such as Linda can feel the freedom to question some aspects of a project without appearing to challenge equal access for people with a disability. I look forward to working with Linda and others to support their rights and to support our efforts to include accessibility in any projects that are undertaken.

We no longer wish to be seen as adversaries.

WE NEED TO EMPHASIZE “KIND” IN THE WORD HUMANKIND.

VIRGIL EDWARDS

Disability Action Center

Coeur d’Alene

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