It might take a healthy dose of imagination to envision the true worth of a development like an arboretum. If you think of such a place as merely “trees” or “plants” it will be difficult to understand how such a development could prompt a feeling of excitement.
That was exactly the feeling Saturday at the packed grand opening of the Longview Arboretum and Nature Center, however. What’s more, we predict the excitement is not going to wane anytime soon, especially as the arboretum continues to grow and complete its full vision.
Nothing we can say in this space will do justice to the arboretum’s first 11 acres. Not even the photos published in Sunday’s News-Journal can say enough. You must go yourself, to experience the beauty and opportunity that abounds across this place and realize: This is only just the beginning.
Indeed, the Longview Arboretum and Nature Center, at 706 W. Cotton St., requires nothing more than soaking in the atmosphere of what is there. You can walk the broad paths, take in lovely vistas from the gazebo, or simply sit and allow the peacefulness to flow around you.
If you were one of those skeptical that our city needed an arboretum, we especially invite you to visit. We are confident you will in no way be disappointed. If you enjoy living in East Texas, you will doubly enjoy the arboretum. The $5 entry fee just helps offset expenses.
The growth of a great city is comprised of many types of developments. Usually that term conjures images of factories, business headquarters and retail centers, and we will not argue those have their place and are of vital importance.
But other types of developments, even those that do not increase the tax rolls or make anyone wealthy, are important, too. The arboretum and nature center is one such development, and one that will always be growing. Indeed, what is 11 developed acres now will one day grow to 26, and those acres will always be rich with growth, as well.
This beautiful reality began with a vision by the Gregg County Master Gardeners early this century, an idea spearheaded by the late Dencil Marsh. He was known as one who could devise and execute a plan and his energy helped push the project along during times when hope was hard to come by.
Marsh passed away but others stepped forward to take his place. Over the years we have not noticed any wavering in the commitment to see the arboretum through from vision to today’s public-private reality.
One of the questions often heard about such visions is, “How will this benefit Longview?” The question usually means how will Longview reap a financial reward?
We regret there are those shortsighted enough to think that is the be-all and end-all.
Of course the arboretum will bring visitors to our city, and it is exactly the sort of quality-of-life development that attracts growth, both of population and business.
Those are important realities, but largely intangible. So we will say it again: If you go, you will understand. Visit, and it will all make sense.