Now that the divisive vote on the Portland parks referendum is over, it is time for the residents of Portland to come together in order to plan the revitalization of Congress Square Park.

I urge Mayor Michael Brennan, the City Council and Rockbridge Capital to drop the idea of developing valuable open space in the heart of the city. Another vote on this issue in November would be a nightmare.

When the City Council went ahead and devised its own plan to protect Portland parks (similar to the referendum minus protection for Congress Square), it made the June 10 vote about the future of Congress Square.

Open space in dense urban settings is vital to any great city. There are many residents in this area who live in affordable or low-income housing. If nothing else, they deserve a place to enjoy the outdoors. The numerous employees of the businesses in the area also deserve a place to take a break during their workdays.

Residents enjoying concerts, food, movies and other forms of entertainment should be an achievable goal for Congress Square. This would be far more appealing than gawking in a convention center window-watching people in suits and fancy dresses frolicking about.

Another propaganda-filled campaign on this issue will only serve to divide the people of this city even more. A strong majority of peninsula residents voted “yes,” while off-peninsula voters chose “no.”

As an off-peninsula homeowner who voted “yes,” I ask my neighbors how they would feel if business interests and political leaders wanted to develop two-thirds of Dougherty Field, Baxter Woods or Riverton Trolley Park. Most likely, the feelings would be outrage and resentment. I’m sure Mayor Brennan and the city councilors would also feel these emotions if development came to their neighborhood parks.

Mike White

Portland