Apr 14, 2015
Speaking Spirit Truth to the Mayor & Council
(Submitted by a Faulkner County observer) This is an open letter to the City Council and Mayor of Conway, Arkansas concerning the proposed purchase of the Spirit Homes property and conversion into a park. As a constituent of each of you, I ask that you vote no to this project. New parks sound like such...
This is an open letter to the City Council and Mayor of Conway, Arkansas concerning the proposed purchase of the Spirit Homes property and conversion into a park. As a constituent of each of you, I ask that you vote no to this project.
New parks sound like such a great idea, sort of like mom and apple pie. The reality is that for all optional government projects like parks and expo centers, the many will pay for the benefit of the few.
No one doubts that the Expo Center is busy, but still — except for the mumbo-jumbo of government financial explanation — it does not pay for itself. Revenues may pay operating expenses, but do not pay the debt incurred to purchase in the first place. The same will probably be true of Spirit Homes.
Maintenance cost will be gigantic if the Spirit Homes property is developed with all of the amenities we’ve heard about. Does the City have a plan to pay operating costs that is revenue neutral, or will we see an increase in the parks budget?
If some of the numbers for operations are even near correct, each citizen will have to visit the new park once a week and pay $10.00/person each visit.
Can you see anyone paying $40.00 for a family with two children to go to the park? I certainly cannot, so it looks like a budget increase for parks and a tax increase to cover it are coming down the road. Is this really what the City Council wants? I don’t think your constituents do.
If we’re going to renew bonds, why not go in debt to put the roads back into decent shape? The idea that Conway needs amenities like Palo Alto has been proven false; all the tech startup companies seem to get a hand from the city then move to Little Rock.
HP isn’t a good example of how bike paths draw companies, but I’m sure the tax breaks the city gave them helped. How long before their next contraction causes their footprint in Conway to get even smaller?
Conway is a great city, not because of bike paths or skateboard parks, but because the people are friendly and good and we’re located in a great part of the country.
When I first moved here from New York I started going to City Council meetings and advocating for expansion of city-provided amenities. One night, a really smart Council member asked me if I liked Conway, to which I replied that yes, I certainly did.
His reply to me was “Then why are you trying to make it like New York?”
I’ve never forgotten that. Now I ask you, Mayor Townsell and our City Council, “Why are you trying to make Conway into Palo Alto?”
Although on second thought, after looking at the purchase and ongoing costs for Spirit Homes, maybe you’re trying to make us into Detroit?