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The Park Board has scheduled two workshops that will focus on developing a comprehensive plan for the cityâ€™s park system.
Both sessions will be on Friday nights, beginning at 7 p.m. on March 13 and March 27.
The workshops were suggested after City Administrator Rick Childers told the board to slow down with spending and develop a plan.
Since December, the board has spent more than $88,000 on park projects, according to the minutes from those meetings.
The board has received about $30,000 from a sales tax that was passed last year. The board borrowed $225,000 against the tax to start projects early.
Included in the $88,000 is about $14,700 in spending Monday night. The board approved spending $11,230 on dugouts and bleachers for baseball, T-ball fields and the cityâ€™s new tennis courts. The board also approved spending $3,318 for a device that has multiple uses including dragging ballfields, parking lots and walking trails.
Board member Mark Sowder then presented the board with a list of projects that need to be completed at West Armour Park. The discussion then went into contemplating spending an additional $10,000 for the purchase of playground equipment for the parks.
Childers at that point urged the board to come up with a comprehensive plan for the park system.
â€œYouâ€™re getting to the point where it would really benefit you to have an overall plan for the development of the parks,â€ he said.
Childers said last year when the board campaigned for the park tax that is allowing for this development, they told the voters that they would come up with a plan. He said the board could be getting into troubled waters, spending $10,000 here or there without a plan. The board budgeted $50,000 this year for a plan.
â€œIâ€™m not saying you need to go out and pay somebody $50,000 to do a plan,â€ Childers said. â€œYou need a plan that shows where everything is going to end up so that you donâ€™t say a year from now, â€˜Gosh, I wish we didnâ€™t get all of these swing sets because we need to put this over there and that over there.â€™ Itâ€™s reaching that point.
â€œYou need to have that in a plan that the park board takes to the community and says, â€˜This is the plan weâ€™re working on. What do you think?â€™â€ Childers added.
Board Treasurer Luana Bloom also expressed some concerns for spending money too quickly.
â€œWeâ€™re spending a lot at the first of the year,â€ Bloom said. â€œWe may not have anything left to spend. Weâ€™re going to have to slow down.â€
Board President Joyce Bowles took exception to Childersâ€™ suggestion that the board stop spending and develop a plan.
â€œDo you have a city plan?â€ Bowles asked.
Childers responded by saying the city does have a plan but, â€œIt doesnâ€™t say anything.â€
Bowles pressed the issue and asked, â€œThen why donâ€™t you have a city plan?â€
â€œI didnâ€™t tell the voters I would have one,â€ Childers responded.
â€œBut you would think the city would have a plan too,â€ Bowles countered.
Childers told the board that it does not sound like the board would have too hard of a time coming up with a plan.
â€œYou have a pretty good picture in each of your individual heads of where youâ€™re going,â€ Childers said. â€œThatâ€™s your plan. You just need to put that down on paper.â€