07/08/08 — Park the park: Officials seem to get taxes don't grow on trees

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Park the park: Officials seem to get taxes don't grow on trees

Don't look now, but it seems that someone on the Goldsboro City Council is finally getting that there is not an unlimited supply of money available from city taxpayers this year.

And, joy of joys, there seem to be more than one or two echoing that theme.

The council members justifiably squawked over the cost an official plan for the Stoney Creek Park project -- this one expected to cost more than $85,000 -- without the eyebrow-raising water feature. To get that controversial aspect designed would cost an additional $33,000.

Seems a little excessive, doesn't it?

Well, the council members thought so -- and sent Parks and Recreation Director Sonya Shaw back to the drawing board to see if there is anyone who could come up with a cheaper plan.

Good for them.

And during the discussion, one of the council members actually voiced what many city residents must be thinking -- if the city has $118,000 for a plan for yet another park, why isn't there money available to make repairs at the parks that already exist?

Our thoughts exactly.

If Goldsboro really has parks that are in need of repair, why in the world would anyone approve a plan for the development of another park before making sure there are resources in place to care for the areas that already exist -- or to improve them so that they are more attractive to city residents?

The questions raised by council members about the Stoney Creek project are legitimate, and they should be commended for not just rubber-stamping an expense for a feel-good project.

But one also has to wonder why it has taken them so long to speak up? The downturn in the economy has made many local families think twice about their budgets and their spending -- perhaps the city needs to be thinking along those lines, too, especially when it comes to recreation.

Demanding the biggest bang for the city's buck is a necessity -- especially if residents are going to be facing even tighter wallets in the last half of the year.

Stoney Creek Park has always been a lightning rod -- both for those who see it as an asset for the city's future growth and those who see it as another excuse to spend some money. Taking a little more time isn't such a bad idea, especially if there is a need to justify expenses and to win more public support.

There are more questions left to be asked about Stoney Creek Park -- not the least of which is if this community is really interested in supporting the plan.

Let's hope the council is ready to ask them.

Published in Editorials on July 8, 2008 1:27 PM