post-Sept. 11 world. The things that go on in churches and temples foster
goodness in people and strengthen the fundamental relationships that give
life meaning and richness. Having been so recently reminded of the
importance of those relationships and of the things that matter most in
life, shouldn't we all welcome any and all efforts to turn our collective
thoughts toward those things?
On another level, that of good urban design and property values,
consider the charm of European villages and New England towns that have
beautiful public buildings, churches, statues, fountains, gardens, etc.
as part of their core. What would these towns be without the steeples and
statues rising above the surrounding trees and buildings?
These structures and spaces create tremendous value by giving the eye
and the soul a rest. A well-known urban planner "vista terminators." A
beautiful steeple, or a dramatically lighted church, surrounded by
gardens open to the public like the proposed Mormon building, inspire and
lift the human spirit. Can we afford not to build more of them in any
community? Talk about adding value.
When I read quotes like the one from the Bonita Canyon president using
words like "intrusionary symbolism" being "thrust on the community," I
can only shake my head in sad disbelief. I say, bring on the churches,
bring on the temples, bring on the gardens and parks, bring on the things
that add real value to our community life. (Those same things boost
property values as well, if you look at the data.)
* KEN EVERSON JR. is a Newport Beach resident.