Headline on front page suggests a “grass roots group” is exploring the interest in an area-wide recreation facility. I had a couple of people tell me they had rec’d surveys relative to this issue. Interesting….
The folks who have rec’d surveys mention they have been sent from the Parks & Rec Department. The abbreviated article suggests assistance from P&R and even mentions the Director by name. I’ve asked a number of other citizens/taxpayers of Manhattan and they have been surprised to know a survey is being distributed.
First, who authorized the expenditure of tax dollars to pay for mailing a survey or use of City employee hours in distribution of the survey? Is the City Commission aware of the questions asked, the demographics of the group receiving the survey, and the cost of said survey? A rec center referendum was heartily defeated at the ballot box a few years ago. That idea was to make those owning property in Manhattan pay for a multi-million dollar facility, basically dedicated to the Marlins swim team and the “upper crust” of Manhattan. Why are tax dollars being expended, once again, in an attempt to push this issue?
What demographic is being “allowed” to give input as to the need for such a facility? Just those with kids who might use the facility? Just those who will financially benefit, such as Marlins families? Just those who feel a rec center is “vital” to the community, when we have a City Commission suggesting social service programs are not? Just those who live outside the City, who can use the facility as it’s paid for by the property owners who do live in town?
What weight will such a survey carry with the Commission? With a majority of the Commission in the hip pocket of the Chamber, if the Chamber demands such a facility will it run through the elected body like grass through a goose? With one Commissioner bragging about all his years with the Marlins, all his swimming certifications, and his kids involvement in the Marlins, will there be any significant opposition to the facility in the Commission?
If the Commission does decide to push through a large “baby sitting facility”, will eco-devo dollars promised to the Chamber be used? Weren’t we sold the recent tax referendum on the idea the revenue stream could be used for “infrastructure”? Would if make more sense to build something a segment of the community could use instead of handing local millionaire businessmen additional tax dollars under the guise of eco-devo?
Many have suggested a large rec center should be initiated and funded by something such as the YMCA. As long as we have special interest groups pushing for tax dollars to build and support such facilities, there is no motiviation for private enterprise to move forward. If the taxpayers will pay the bill, why should those using the faciity support it? If this is a “grass roots” organization, let’s make certain the “grass” is not a small strain that grows by stealing the nutriants from the rest of the lawn and, pretty soon, all nutrients are gone and all the grass fades away.