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Readers react: ‘No’ to a road through Blanchard Park, ‘yes’ to pitching in to combat climate change | First Words | Orlando

¶ Proposed road would cut through Blanchard Park

Jay Blanchard Park is home to 84 acres of accessible trails, fields for sports and a connection to the Little Econlockhatchee River. Its beautiful scenery attracts residents, students and families from all over the Orlando area to spend a day outside. 

Rather than an open grassy field, this gem is narrow and long, allowing access to the 7.9-mile Little Econ Greenway Trail. The connection to the Little Econ River allows for a relaxing picnic by the riverbank as well as fishing, canoeing and kayaking. 

Aside from benefiting humans, it is a special home to the animals and plants who reside in it. There have been hundreds of birds, fish and terrestrial animals spotted.

This striking scenery is in the hands of the county representatives, as they are determining if the park stays as beautiful as we know it today. Currently, there is debate on constructing the Richard Crotty Parkway through a boundary of the park. This four-lane slab of concrete would disrupt the ecosystem as well as the residents who enjoy spending their time in nature. 

As a college student who spends their free time enjoying the fresh air at Jay Blanchard Park, I ask us all to consider if this road is necessary. With all of the bikers, fishers and families who utilize the beautiful scenery, it would pose a threat to their safety. The ecosystem is also at risk. This would increase air pollution, contaminate the groundwater, and disrupt the wildlife. Is it really worth it?

— Nicole Boisson, Orlando

¶ A Civilian Climate Corps would serve many needs

Imagine being a college graduate who is struggling to find an entry-level job that allows them to address the threat of climate change. For many young adults entering the workforce, this is the reality. The Civilian Climate Corps would address this issue. The creation of a modern CCC would create accessible training opportunities and a plethora of jobs for young adults that specifically address the threat of climate change and strengthen our protection of natural lands.

This program is modeled after the CCC program that was established by FDR, which employed 3 million men in its nine-year run. The newer version, which was proposed by Biden’s administration, aims to spend $10 billion, which will help create 150,000 to 200,000 jobs in total.

As a young college student, I have participated in the AmeriCorps program, which provides a similar experience to what the Civilian Climate Corps aims to do. Nothing has helped me further my growth and knowledge more than getting to work alongside professionals in the field to address issues near to my heart, issues that we all have begun to face more frequently. It is imperative that the CCC be included in the Reconciliation Package; our youth will change the future, if we just let them have the opportunity.

— Johanna Packer, Orlando

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