“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is now,” an ancient Chinese Proverb teaches. Consider this as Forks Supervisors decide the fate of the large oaks, ash, hickories and other trees including the “Cottage” on Zucksville Road.
Forks Township acquired wooded property and Cottage many years age at 706 Zucksville Road many years ago and more recently the Panzini Community House next door from residents who hoped their homes and wooded landscapes would be enjoyed by future generations, not hacked down or leveled for just another parking lot or t-ball field.
These woods are adjacent to a large pond near the west side of the Community Center and are served by recreation paths around and through the trees. Birds and small animals find these woods a real natural habitat. The cottage woods and pond have the potential of becoming a true public asset, one of which Forks can be proud.
At their Sept. 20 meeting, Supervisors are set to decide the fate of Zucksville Road property and cottage. They would do well to recall Benjamin Franklin’s caution to “take time for all things. Great haste makes great waste.”
The Forks Recreation Capital Reserve account balance now exceeds $800,000 in developer-provided funds. It can be used, without cost to taxpayers, to preserve the Zucksville “cottage,” while further community input and action are sought. By minimally winterizing the residence and remediating the mold, the Forks Planning Commission and Supervisors would gain valuable time to determine the highest and best use for the building and surrounding land. Forks cultural organizations from the Historical Society to the arts community also have a stake in the ultimate outcome of the Zucksville property.
It is not hard to imagine that our Zucksville land could be used as a good environmental study area for Community Center summer campers in recreation programs. By remediating mold and minimal cottage winterizing, options can be researched thoroughly in coming months, perhaps by a professional park and recreation-planning firm. Forks decision-makers can afford time to think this through and avoid further environmental degradation where trees and cottage are bulldozed only to have recreation path or road named after them in memoriam.
By tabling a decision on the immediate fate of the cottage and lot, irreparable mistakes can be avoided. Forks should heed Moliere’s caution that “unreasonable haste is the direct road to error.”