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Keeping Our Community Green

By Pamela Noel

Special to Plumas News

Sitting on a bench, listening to the wind in the trees, watching people eat their lunches after being in an office all morning, I feel grateful for this relaxing green space that welcomes everyone.  I am sitting in a place, where  one’s mind can drift from daily concerns; a place where one can meet for a cup of tea or a relaxing snack; a place where children can escape the confines of a multitude of screens—because the great screen that surrounds them feeds all the senses.

Dame Shirley Plaza is one of the few places within walking distance of downtown Quincy, where one can sit for a moment, letting leafy shadows bathe them in its restful movement.  Dame Shirley Plaza is where two children play a game of cards on a blanket, while their moms enjoy pleasant moments with one another.  Dame Shirley is where I observe two elders on a picnic bench, reaching across a picnic table holding the other’s hand.

Many private, as well as public moments happen here.  A dear community member’s memorial was held here, several years ago, with music and memories and tears.  It is a place where farmers markets and craft fairs have been held.  Outdoor concerts invite the community to bring their lawn chairs and blankets, enjoying an evening of entertainment. Birthday parties and veterans celebrations find their moments here.  Our democratic exercise of public discourse can be seen periodically on the park’s corner.  Tai chi classes have also made an appearance in this space.

Dame Shirley Plaza becomes an extension of our living space—a respite from the office—a place to breathe the breath of trees and grass that welcome us into this “outdoor room”. It is a multi-purpose place, where a variety of events can occur—a safe space where all can see and be seen.

We don’t need a large public outdoor space in the midst of our downtown.  But we do need a place for our kids to ride their bikes to meet their buddies, our office workers to take a breath, our elders, and the rest of our community to wander into, knowing that they can rest and be refreshed by the beautiful space that already exists.  Additionally, it also has the potential to attract more business by a periodic offering of smaller festivals and events.  There is no limit to the possibilities Dame Shirley offers.

I am not an expert on all the options for the building of a new court house.  However, I can look around and see some other existing possibilities that would not destroy a spectacularly peaceful outdoor gathering space. Beautiful green space adds to the feeling of community. It says to the visitor that wanders through our community that we care about our quality of life here.

We don’t need to design a bigger, more magnificent park to replace what we already have.   Once this special place is swallowed by concrete and asphalt, it will be almost impossible to bring back this natural gem that we call Dame Shirley Plaza.

One thought on “Keeping Our Community Green

  • Beautifully written. You have really captured the value of Dame Shirley Plaza to our community. Thank you!

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