By KATHLEEN VORWICK
In George Orwell’s book “1984,” the world as depicted, would have been a very depressing place. However, in the actual year 1984, a wonderful thing happened. After many years of hard work and studies… The Greenbelt was officially born.
Its parents were the farsighted individuals who saw the value and necessity, and who possessed the vision of preserving this oasis of open space. Its gestation was and is a long one. Through advocacy, studies, public hearings, and participation, the Greenbelt grew to become not only New York City’s largest flagship park but the largest all-urban park in America.
Although the Greenbelt of 1984 was comprised of certain areas already preserved, (through the same painfully slow process) such as LaTourette Park, High Rock Park, William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, it has been joined by many siblings, such as the Richmond County Country Club Gold Course; Camp Kaufmann, St. Francis Friary woodlands; Bloodroot Valley and Chapin Woods. The family is slowly becoming complete.
It is hoped that in the future, the Greenbelt will welcome more areas such as Manor Park, portions of Farm Colony and Seaview; privately-owned acreage; de-mapped roadways, etc.
What a gift it is to know that a person can have a role, no matter how small, in leaving this legacy for our children and grandchildren. We will be able to look back and know that we helped give birth; we nurtured and watch-over as our Greenbelt grew to adulthood.
Kathleen “Kathy” Vorwick was a member of the Greenbelt Conservancy board of directors for 11 years and served as president from 2008-2011. She was instrumental in saving Camp Pouch from real-estate developers. She died in 2013. She was 73.