Fort Sumner Park, located on North Street on Munjoy Hill, with its history as a place of refuge for city citizens in times of struggle, continues as a place of refuge. Residents and visitors walk the green and open areas of the park; take in the stunning views of Portland and the distant White Mountains; use the open space for both reflective and expansive thinking.

The solace found here and the restful effects of the park’s design help all who visit to rejuvenate. Fort Sumner Park is a sparkling gem in the midst of a beautiful city.

It’s a testament to the vision and vitality of the city that the original purpose for the fort has been transformed from one of militaristic need to use that is a bit more spiritual. Early city leaders recognized the need for areas of beauty and tranquility to be available to all. Unfortunately, of late, the vigor which the city has dedicated to the development of underdeveloped land on Portland’s peninsula could seriously diminish Fort Sumner Park’s qualities.

It’s ironic that Fort Sumner Park, born from a time of struggle, finds itself in the midst of struggle again. The struggle is this: Should the City Council’s desire for city development and renewal come at the cost of historic views from our park? Hopefully not. Portland should not allow development that comes at the expense of the people’s access to such beautiful views.

I urge the Portland City Council to please endorse the proposed moratorium on development of the properties that surround Fort Sumner Park so a balance can be achieved between development’s interests and the interests of the people.

Dave Cowie