Our View: School Park Preserve opening should be celebrated by all

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What started out as a diamond in the rough has turned into quite a gem for Auburn. The Auburn School Park Preserve, once overgrown and unused, has been polished into a charming natural escape within the city. The park should be a multi-purpose gathering spot for all of Auburn. That’s why local officials should have organized a celebration for the park’s opening that all residents could attend. An official ribbon cutting of the School Park Preserve Friday will mark the conclusion of a multi-year project that brought together the city, volunteers, and public and private funding sources. There were plenty of bumps along the way. Rising costs, weather delays, contractor changes and lack of funding all plagued the park’s construction, pushing completion back by years. The park realizes the dream of the late Susan Cooley-Gilliom. Founder of the Emigrant Trails Greenway Trust, Cooley-Gilliom was instrumental in the early development and design of the park. Though she passed away in 2003, her presence will be felt as the park is celebrated Friday. The city will reap many benefits from revamping this former school play yard site into a park. The 4.3-acre park off of College Way spans the Old Town and Downtown business districts, allowing a physical connector that encourages pedestrians to walk from Auburn Folsom Road to Lincoln Way through the park. Flood protection is another bonus to restoring the Lincoln Creek, once diverted underground, to the surface. The ribbon cutting for the park will take place at 10 a.m. Friday for guests who RSVP. City officials should have picked a date when more residents could attend what should be a community celebration. Unfortunately, on weekday mornings such as Friday, many who might like to attend are in school or at work. Nevertheless, the opening of the School Park Preserve is an exciting achievement and the city should now schedule a more public celebration on an upcoming weekend.