After learning of a looming street renovation project planned for the summer 2013 on our residential block, I would like to look to the possibilities of building a book exchange box for our tight knit community with a nod to thoughtful design and optimum location.
What is a book exchange box? They are popping up in neighborhoods across the country and are usually the grass roots efforts of a few interested parties. Are you an interested party? The boxes often look like birdhouses and are planted near the street and generally hold about 25 books. The use of the box is based on the honor system with a sign on the box that reads “take a book, leave a book”. It could be a dynamic library in our own front yard.
The renovation (many view it as a demolition) of our street in the coming months will result in replacement of the road, driveways, sidewalks, and easements with new and hopefully improved materials to stand up to the torrid Texas weather. This is our chance to reconsider tree options, plantings, and yard decor as well as a convenient time to install a book exchange box. Included in the construction of the new road are plans to install large, concrete boxes under the ground, directly below the street to act as drains to trap the excessive flood waters that plague our neighborhood nearly every 5-7 years. The four, varying sized boxes, will be installed under the roadway beginning at the intersection of El Campo and Ashland and will extend north to the middle of the block. The boxes are designed to release the water slowly into the rocky soil as an engineered solution to correct the problem that many of the streets in the Arlington Heights neighborhood are built on an ancient creek bed. The deep dive for these boxes may be as much as 30 feet. We are the guinea pigs for city planners in this first attempt to ease the neighborhood flooding problems. Let’s stay alert to the process – it will certainly not all go as planned (pilot projects rarely do!). The entertaining children’s literary piece, Holes, should be required reading this summer. It would certainly give some real world application that educators tell us our kids need these days. We all must brace for the inconvenient truth of the hassles we will face collectively…where do we park?, where do we place the trash bins?, what about my Greenling delivery order?, and how do I get from here to there with bebe, man’s best friend and the groceries? And in suessical repetition… what about the noise, noise, noise! I think a book exchange box is just what Ashlanders need this long, trying summer as we escape our messy street to the possibilities found in a good book. We didn’t get to vote on the four concrete boxes placed below our street but we can certainly vote for a book exchange box on our street. Please comment if you have thoughts on either book exchange boxes or street reconstruction in your neighborhood.