Thursday, November 19, 2009
Community Center and Town Square
I am still confused about why the town needs a community center and a town square, costing millions of dollars. So far, the rationale has been "the town has spent all their money on the tourists, nothing on us residents, so we want a piece of the pie." And that bothers me.
Of course I had to post such negative thoughts on the SPI Forums, which nearly caused a revolution. Several posters quit on the spot, like "Sam how dare you?"
My main point was that there were plenty of other large projects to fund, such as redesigning Padre Boulevard to make it more attractive and accessible by foot traffic, although I really wasn't opposed to having a town square and community center - especially if you knew pretty much what you wanted. But the fact remains, nobody really knows what we want, other than we want something.
The logic seems to be that a 20 million dollar bond will only cause our property taxes to go up about 5 to 7 cents on the rate, so what's two or three million for a community center? This is remarkable given the fact that new town hall went over budget by a couple million, and people howled in protest and disgust - how dare you waste our money like that? I don't get it.
Further, other projects include not only Padre Blvd but also Gulf Blvd that runs next to the ocean: this avenue needs better parking, beach access, and drainage. There is no drainage on Gulf Blvd, so when that street floods, the whole island floods. People are complaining about vehicles being parked on their lawns on the east side of Gulf. Yet here we are talking about a senior citizen activity center and a grassy patch that maybe can be used for a few small concerts and "mercados" a year?
Perhaps I simply suck as a politician, and can't understand it. And some act like if I oppose the community center and town square, I am directly insulting them and their citizen rights. The only downside I can see is that if the land deal fails, we won't have a new place for the fire station (which by the way, many oppose because they already have a fire station that could be rebuilt).
But I thought I would clarify my thoughts on the issue. I am not opposed to acquiring land for a community center and a town square - whatever those thingies are - but those are pretty far far down my list of priorities and I haven't seen where operating and maintenance funds would come from, other than that good old "trust me" wink and nod that seems to prevail on this sandbar.