Fraser rec center project beset with problems
February 15, 2009
To the Editor:
I am studying political science in my sophomore year at college I have become fascinated by the recent letters and editorials regarding the Fraser Rec Center and all the back and forth issues regarding this. I have spent a large amount of time in this area.
The bond issue from the beginning was advertised to the public as a $19 million dollar bond. But in truth it will cost the taxpayers upwards of $46 million over the life of the bond.
The land that Grand Park donated is listed as a $4.5 million donation but I could not find one appraiser or real estate broker in the area who could give me comparable solds to support this value. Truth might be that it is closer to $1.9 million or less.
It also appears on the Grand Park plat that the parking around the rec center is shared with the entire Grand Park project, not just for the rec center.
The Board of Directors of the Rec District refused to give the public documents from executive meetings. Umm? I didn’t know that the rec district was holding meetings about ” National Security?
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The board signed an agreement with Grand Park that has a “reversionary” clause along with others clauses that give the Grand Park owner the right to name the Center and the right to control which contractors build the center. It also includes easements which benefit solely the Grand Park Hotel and other entities within the project.
I called the Recreation District and they had no information available on what the monthly or yearly costs would be for individuals or families for memberships or usage of the facility.
The list of issues surrounding this project goes on and on. I find it interesting that there seemed to be no financial performance report available on this project. Why was this not available to the public?. Because it would have shown financial failure?
My research shows that most all rec centers, even in larger municipalities, are financial failures and have failed to provide the amenities that they promised to the taxpayers. Seems hard to believe that one would make it here, thus allowing Grand Park to exercise its reversionary clause.
If taxpayers’ money is used for such projects then the taxpayers should have 100 percent control over what usage is allowed in any tax-supported facility. Not so in this case.
I personally feel that property taxes should be limited to what I call “necessary” amenities, like water and sewer systems, roads, and road maintenance, fire departments, schools, police departments. Or hospitals and ambulance services. These are things that are necessary for the survival of any community or municipality to grow.
Yes I do see that a rec center would be good for any community, but at what cost? With all the economic issues facing all taxpayers today. I think it would make more sense to spend people’s money on wiser, necessary things.
It seems to me with all the dead trees and the lack of volunteers for the fire departments that the $46 million would be better spent protecting the homes of the people who own and live here. Or building a much needed hospital?
What’s really un-American here?