By BILLY N. FORCEY Dec. 19, 2014
RALEIGH—Cameron park residents requested a special convening of the City Council Thursday, bringing a hitherto unheard-of request before the members.
“We, the residents of Cameron Park, the Most Beloved Neighborhood in our fair Borough, do hereby ask of you esteemed members of the Council of City to forthwith condemn our neighborhood so that Nature may once again take her rightful place,” a bearded Cameron Parkite dressed in early-20th-c. garb announced to a bemused Council. “We, the aforementioned residents, will forthwith abandon our artificial homes and take refuge elsewhere.”
The liberal enclave of Cameron Park may be the first to request a carte blanche condemnation of itself in the nation, according to Raleigh historian Ruth Little, who literally wrote the book on Cameron Park. “It’s not surprising,” she said. “Cameron Parkers have a history of putting the environment ahead of self, even to the point of making their children homeless.”
The proposal brought immediate reaction from the Council. John Odom wondered aloud if shale oil might be found there, while Mary-Ann Baldwin envisioned the area as a ginormous dog park.
Immediate discussion and debate ensued. One proposal had half the land being used for green space, with the other half being transformed into a southern extension of Cameron Village, except with 40-story buildings housing luxury condos, office space and retail that doesn’t necessarily have to be women’s clothing stores.
This proposal, however, was shot down immediately by City Councilman Bonner Gaylord. “This city needs more green space,” argued the environmentally friendly Gaylord. “And Raleigh already has a magnificent lifestyle destination a little farther north.”
He added, “It’s quite walkable, too.”
Jonah Stack, whose family has called Cameron Park home for nearly a century, was cautiously optimistic about the outcome. “They need to be very, very careful,” he said. “If they don’t treat this area gingerly, it could be a disaster.”
Others were more hopeful. Ned Carroll, a longtime resident, thinks he’s like to bring his granddaughter back someday to go fishing. Two lakes are planned in the areas currently occupied by Green Park and Brown Park. Furthermore, most residents are expected to donate their Priuses, Volvos, and Subarus, which will be sunk in the lakes to serve as artificial reefs.
The feelings of the neighborhood were summed up by environmental activist Bob Geary, who said, “With all the encroachment and infill, we had to do something. We had to put our money where our collective mouths are. We’ve taken up far too much oxygen on this planet.” He plans to self-immolate in his house as it is burned to make room for a natural wetland area.
Where there are now artificial human habitats, now there will be moss growing on the brick foundations. One neighbor left a poem on a rock in Green Park, which will soon be a boat launch site.
The poem, “THE FUTURE IS HERE,” read:
“Feel the breeze on your face
Cooling, isn’t it?
That’s real wind
Not a climate-killing AC unit.
See the mother deer
In what used to be your basement.”
Councilman Eugene Weeks said this was the most unusual request he had heard of since Drewry Hills petitioned the city for a tunnel to North Hills Mall and residents of Boylan Heights asked the state to move Central Prison “a few miles to the left.”