Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Letís not blow the river park deal

    A recent letter suggested that the process of transferring property to the city from the BLM for a water park at Hulen Meadows is flawed. It seems to me that it has gone like any other process dealing with changing public land use. It has gone on way too long, been way too expensive and taken way, way too many meetings. And as we get closer to the finish, it gets even more difficult because people’s emotional issues—on both sides—really surface.
    So far, the process has rallied almost universal support for pond dredging; fish-, flood- and recreation-friendly drop structures in the river; the majority of the parking on the east side of the river; and the commitment to fund the construction part of the project from private sources.
    The majority of the current conflict is about how many amenities are in the field next to the pond. These include issues about parking lot size, handicap access, bathrooms, picnic facilities and landscaping. If we all listen, compromise and agree on shared values (no lights, no concerts?) we will end up with a recreational site we can all be proud of.
    There are many stakeholders in the process but let’s not forget maybe the most important one—those many generations of kids to come, toddlers to teens, who need a safe, clean river/pond place to mess around in. We’re so close. Let’s not blow it.
Andy Munter


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