Charlotte Valbert, the woman who wrested Blueberry Park from decades of blackberries, has died.
Valbert, 82, led her East Side and South End communities by tireless example and with undaunted humor and confidence. She served on community councils, in the League of Women Voters and the Democratic Party. She and her family gave refuge to people in distress.
She stood and spoke for the people.
But Blueberry Park is her legacy, as a park and as a way of taking responsibility for our quality of life.
When the 40 overgrown acres at East D and 74th Streets were threatened with development, she led the fight to free the former blueberry farm from the brambles. She mustered volunteers, grant money and agencies to open the land as an urban refuge, and a source of free blueberries.
With that park saved, she showed neighborhoods how to reclaim their own lost treasures. At the time of her death, she was advising the team reclaiming the once-stately McKinley Park.
We will have Valbert’s obituary in Wednesday’s paper. On Saturday, I will write about her in my column.
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