Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?
I remember my parents explaining the saying “good fences make good neighbors” as we planted bamboo at the edge of our lot when I was a child. I worried a jungle would grow there and I’d never see our neighbors again.
When my husband and I bought our house in Magnolia we were glad to find one thing that wouldn’t need repairing – the fence that our neighbors had installed. But the more we got to know these neighbors the more we realized the fence would need to be altered, so one Saturday afternoon we took a saw to it and created a gateway that kids and adults have been traversing ever since. The fence on the other side of our lot did need to be repaired and my husband and I have replaced it many times. It blew down again in this week’s windstorm, so it’s got us thinking about fencing yet again.
Magnolia Manor Park has its own fencing history as well. At one time there was no fence around the reservoir and people could walk right up to the edge of the water. Fencing eventually was erected around the entire SPU property, then more fencing so a pathway could be established on the north side of the property. Then came the 1995 lidding, and fencing was rearranged to accomodate a passive park. In 2010 the fencing changed to protect the entire lid. All of the fencing is the cyclone variety, though some is topped with barbed wire, some not, some is grey and weathered, some a shiny black variety, and some lies on the ground, unused from the 2010 project. SPU has done a lot of thinking about fencing.
The good news is that SPU is willing to keep thinking about the fencing at Magnolia Manor Park in ways to make it the best park it can be for surrounding neighbors. In talks with Site Workshop, SPU has indicated that it would be willing to open up other portions of the property that are currently closed, enabling the park to grow in size and meet the needs of this densely populated area. This would provide opportunities for better access to the park and open up connections to other nearby green spaces, bus stops and schools. But fencing, whether being built, removed or changed, is better done when all neighbors are involved. So please consider being a part of this conversation on what neighbors want this park to be.
Good fences may mean fewer fences, prettier fences or natural fences. Good fences do make good neighbors, if done right.