“Group”...???? ... exploring rec facility
Posted: 16 December 2012 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  797
Joined  2012-10-10

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.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 December 2012 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  479
Joined  2012-10-10

Larry;  Excellent points.  The Commission as a group did ask a few questions about this issue.  To my understanding the Parks and Recreation Director provided input to the group due to his expertise on recreation facilities.  That was the extent of City participation.  The survey was not a City survey.  Some folks kicked around the idea of partnering with the YMCA and maybe local government – Riley County and the City.  I think at least one of the Riley County Commissioners was open to the idea.  The concept is not on the City Commission Agenda.  My priority list has this project down at the bottom, along with the I-70 welcome center.  Before we build a recreation center we figure out how to staff the pools through Labor Day.  If a grass roots organization can build, fund an operate this thing without tax support, then I wish them success.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 December 2012 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  289
Joined  2012-10-10

Who and what exactly is this grass roots organization? Do they have a name?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 December 2012 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  797
Joined  2012-10-10

Stacia… probably known as TFM (Taxes For Marlins).  The University upped the fee for Marlins use of the Natatorium.  They probably think the taxpayers should be footing that entire bill and a complete new facility would accomplish that.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 December 2012 08:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  141
Joined  2012-10-21

I’ve seen the group referred to as the “Little Apple Fieldhouse Committee” and Gail Urban is the chair.  Ms. Urban attended the Dec. 5th school board meeting and asked if the district would send out a survey via e-mail to families, which the school board agreed to.  The committee was described as individuals from the public and private sector who have been discussing building an indoor fieldhouse, possibly at Fairmont Park, with regional interest from nearby communities.  I’ve seen the facility described as having indoor courts, indoor turf field, indoor track, and possibly also having outdoor courts, track, and ball fields.  I’ve seen no mention of a pool.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 December 2012 05:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  797
Joined  2012-10-10

Thanks, Kathy!  QOLII was designed as, mainly, an indoor swimming facilty for the Marlins.  I figured this was just an attempt to ressurect that idea, since the Marlins rep made such a big deal out of the “U” raising rent on the Natatorium… and a sitting Commissioner making certain all constituents knew of his relationship with the Marlins and his swimming expertise.

So… you’re saying we used School Board tax dollars, when the School Board says they are scrimping to get by, to generate a survey for a private group of citizens interested in an indoor rec facility?  And they wonder why we get upset when they want to raise taxes!!!  We’ve just handed the School Board millions for upgrade of exisiting facilities.  They handled that so well one elementary school was without a building for a significant portion of the school year.  The School Board rec’d the large bond referendum and, in just a couple of months, wanted additional funds for mechanical work at one of the schools.  So, I suppose this same Board will now suggest the schools and the community cannot possibly survive if parents want… WANT… an indoor rec facility in Fairmont Park.  Oh, well.  The Chamber will undoubtedly push this as economic development and it will suddenly become “vital” to the community…. much more “vital” than making certain the less fortunate have clothing and shelter.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 December 2012 07:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  141
Joined  2012-10-21

The fieldhouse group developed the survey, and as I said, all that was requested was that the district would send the online survey (like Survey Monkey) to its list of families it has e-mail addresses for.  It would seem to me that that would involve very little time and very little use of tax dollars by a district staff person to forward an electronic survey.  The district asked for a lot of money to renovate and update facilities, and may soon be asking to build an elementary school in Pott County, but the bond funds did not cover every repair/expense the district needed or will need in the future.
I’ve haven’t seen a pool mentioned for the fieldhouse, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be a possibility.  Although, I thought the plan had been to make City Pool capable of being enclosed at some point down the road.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 December 2012 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  479
Joined  2012-10-10

Got the following email today:

Ned Seaton [nseaton@themercury.com]Actions
To:MButler, Wynn
Friday, December 21, 2012 9:24 AM
 

Dear Mercury reader:

We thought it was important to give you an opportunity to have some input on
what could be a significant project in the Manhattan area.

Organizers of this effort ask you to please consider responding to this
survey. It will take less than 10 minutes.

This survey is sponsored by a diverse group of people throughout Geary,
Pottawatomie and Riley counties who are interested in the development of a
youth-focused multi-sport indoor/outdoor facility capable of handling
regional competitive events for a variety of sports.This survey, and your
feedback, is the first step in the development of a facility capable of
meeting regional facility needs, and measuring the economic impact this type
of facility may bring to our area.

Please go to the website address below to answer the survey questions:

https://www.research.net/s/fieldhousesurvey1

Thank you for your time!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 December 2012 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  797
Joined  2012-10-10

Wow!  The survey even asks if you want e-mail updates as to the progress of the project… as if it’s a done deal!!  Questions such as having taxes pay for all the building costs and all the operating costs are absurd!!  It is difficult to believe people are out there who actually think the rest of us should pay for a fancy new place to play.  Oh well, knowing how this community spends money and raises taxes, it will probably go through.

Profile
 
 
   
 

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | The Manhattan Mercury, 318 North 5th Street, Manhattan, Kansas, 66502

Reproduction of any kind is prohibited without written consent.