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Peabody Park Future in Question at UNCG

Front page news story, The Carolinian (Greensboro, North Carolina), 5 April 2001. A photo with this story, not reproduced here, showed the section of Peabody Park proposed for destruction.

Peabody Park Future in Question

It’s hidden in a corner of campus, and lots of people don’t even know it exists. But the 34 acres of stream, woods, and fields known as Peabody Park is, and has been, a part of UNCG for 100 years. The natural amphitheater hosts Spartones concerts and Buffalo Creek sees a fiercely competitive toy boat regatta every spring. Go out there on any sunny day and expect to find frisbees flying and sunbathers snoozing in hammocks.

If the new campus master plan is approved, however, the sunbathers will be napping on an asphalt bed. Though this plan is not yet available for public viewing, it is scheduled to be reviewed within the next few weeks; if approved, the fields between Gray Drive and Aycock Street will be home to a new parking lot and residence hall.

This proposal is unpopular with many of those members of the community who use the park for recreation. Krista Karbowski, founder and president of the Peabody Park Rangers, is outraged. She created the Rangers in hopes of preserving the park and raising awareness about its environmental resources. According to Karbowski, the organization has been successful on campus and in the Greensboro area, but not with the University’s administration.

“Since the administration continues to deny the park’s existence, calling it the ‘Northwest Corner’ instead of Peabody Park, perhaps the Rangers’ efforts have been misdirected,“ said Karbowski.

This is not the first time the park has been threatened. Peabody Park originally sprawled over 125 acres. Most of the original park was developed to accommodate the University as it grew from a small women’s college to the institution that it is today.

The fraction of the original land that survives unmolested is fiercely defended by park lovers. They jumped to action five years ago when the Northwest Corner was jeopardized with proposals for construction. Chancellor Sullivan appointed a committee of faculty, staff, and students to determine which sort of parking lot would be best for Peabody Park. The committee concluded that the park should be free from any further development, and the University listened.

Karbowski hopes that the University will listen this time, too, but she promises to fight for the preservation of those few acres no matter what. “Peabody Park will be celebrating its 100th anniversary this May, whether the administration acknowledges that fact or not.”

Whether or not the celebration will be on the site of a future parking lot and residence hall remains to be seen.


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