Yes, the Richland city staff and council need to protect the current Amon Creek Nature Preserve. In fact, I believe, they should purchase the land for sale at the north end of the creek canyon to expand the preserve. Areas of open space allow us to preserve natural resources in perpetuity. They also enhance the quality of life for current residents as well as for generations to come and attract new businesses and people to our communities.
Richland staff and city council should remember that it is not arterial streets or strip malls that bring people to cities or neighborhoods. It is quality of life benefits that attract people, and that quality of life includes being able to enjoy the outdoors within the city limits. Plus, studies show that properties near urban open space tend to have a higher value. A good resource for information about how cities and organizations can work together to preserve open space can be found online at the American Society of Landscape Architects (dirt.asla.org/2013/04/26/using-public-private-partnerships-to-preserve-open-space/)
We should think of the vision people had decades, perhaps centuries, ago that created the famous parks cities enjoy today -- Central Park in New York (843 acres), Forest Park in Portland (5,100 acres), and Woodland Park in Seattle (90 acres) are just a few. If not for the foresight and vision of people many decades ago, these areas would not exist. Richland has a jewel in Howard Amon Park (45 acres), but it took the vision of people decades ago to establish that potential.
We have three large rivers in our area, but not many creeks. Amon Creek is the largest tributary of the Lower Yakima River in Benton County. Now, as the city expands into natural areas, Richland has an opportunity to protect this one natural corridor -- one creek, one opportunity.
-- Launa Morasch, Richland