Kathy: Not everyone agrees with the stage point of view. It is too bad we cannot take a legitimate poll. In either case no new evidence has come forth to change my viewpoint. You can call it a dog and pony show, but I did not see either dogs or ponies. We had some good discussion and several folks were present that supported the concept. We had some passion dialogue with those that wish to put the stage above all other priorities. A decision matrix of plus and minus points still equates to the conclusion that the project is a good one and benefits more kids and people than the current configuration.
Randall: Yes, the memorial will not be eliminated and I will continue to repeat that fact. The wall will remain the plaque will remain and the building will be rededicated. The living memorial will continue to serve its purpose. I will have to check with Mayor Snead to see if I am dong OK, not sure he is in sync with your comment.
Larry: To answer your questions:
1. Did the City Commission ever ask about any legaleeze re the Auditorium that, if known, might have caused considerations of other alternatives? Yes when we voted the first time, we added a comment for the staff and legal folks to double check to be sure that no legitimate legal reason existed for not doing the renovation.
2. If the Commission did inquire, was City Staff “straight up” with answers? In other words, has the Commission been mindful of the memorial issue for a substantial segment of the 18 month project? Yes again, and be sure to not blame the staff. This is one that the Commission pushed on a 4-1 vote. I believe the commission was mindful, from the legal standpoint of what could be done or not done with the building. It would be true though to say that we did not take a survey of folks that might get their feelings hurt about removing the stage. The staff, I think would be more than happy to accommodate everyone, more basketball courts and the ability to put on a performance of Paint Your Wagon (better than the sound of Music, had Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin in it- more American). The staff got its direction from the Commission. They do not deserve any grief about this project. They acted upon the direction given. The easy solution is to just build a bigger better auditorium and a bigger better parks and recreation building. It can be done, all we need to do is raise taxes (the staff may not care if you pay more). The commission may determine to do that, but it will not be a unanimous vote.
3. If the Commission inquired but was not informed of this issue, is the City Staff person responsible still employed with the City? Not relevant based on the answer to one and two.
4. Didn’t P&R immediately jump into the old fire station at Anderson and Wreath? Could that facility not have been refurbished into office space? That would be Public Works, not parks and recreation. Remember that the old shop and garage space was destroyed in a micro burst a couple of years ago, so the fire station saved a possible additional bond issue and building requirement.
We could build the P & R office with the current CIP funds, but we would not be able to reduce the staff because the location would work against consolidation. So more money would be needed for the P&R building, plus we would have none for the auditorium. So the auditorium would remain as it currently is, without AC and with no further improvement.
The people passed on a 60% margin the sales tax initiative with the 35% for debt reduction. Before we even collect a years’ worth of those debt reduction funds, we have people wanting to add to the debt. It does not compute. Seems like 60% or so of the people are for debt reduction.