Parks & Rec should be focused only on Millennium Park
In reference to the meeting between city and county on Monday evening concerning the direction we take with Parks and Rec department, I agree. I think some progress was made, but not near enough.
It appears we are on the same page now about letting the Parks and Rec board do their jobs without interference from either the city or the fiscal court. They do have to present their budget for approval, which is good, but once it’s approved, it appears they will be responsible for implementation of it, while making brief reports to both bodies during the year to keep them up to date on what might need to be done to make things better in our park.
Thus, ONE entity is in charge of P&R — the board. That’s a good thing.
I agree 100 percent with Mr. Dexter — a rewrite of the ordinance for P&R needs to be done, ASAP. Of the two proposals he had, I lean towards the one saying the city and the fiscal court are basically partners in one PARK, Millennium Park, and that should be our main focus as partners.
In the eight years I was on the FC and six on P&R committee and three and a half years on the ad-hoc committee, only in the last year was it ever brought up to put all playgrounds and small parks under the P&R board and their budget. As was explained by County Judge-Executive Tony Wilder at that meeting, from the beginning in 1998 the plan was always for just Millennium Park.
We need to get back to that, clear it up and move on, then if the city and county want to engage in service agreements for other parks, playgrounds, pool etc. then do that through the service agreements as Mr. Dexter suggested. We have such service agreements in place right now and they work.
While on the ad-hoc committee we struggled each year just to get an extra $100,000 added to the budget for P&R capital improvements. This new plan that Mr. Scott talked about in his interview with the Advocate, about $9.5 million in expenditures for all parks etc. but only $1.2 million for Millennium Park is totally unattainable. We still have about $700,000 to do in Millennium Park recommended by the board. Let’s get that done first!