Letter: Keeping the faith
Three Pueblo West Metropolitan District Board of Directors members kept faith with the public’s interests at the district’s October 8 board meeting. By expressly withholding their support, three out of the five board members – Christine McCarthy, Jerry Martin and Bill Vickers – overrode intentions announced by the other two board members to spend taxpayer money on a questionable option.
The option was whether to add 26 more than the originally planned 52 parking spaces at the new Civic Center Park now under construction along Joe Martinez Boulevard near the Pueblo West library, at an estimated additional cost of around $80,000. Construction of the park was initially estimated to cost the metro district upwards of $900,000. It looked like a good idea, reasonably priced for a public park facility proposed as a complement to the district’s parks and recreation department’s programs. Over time since that initial estimate, plans have been formally drawn, a contractor hired and construction is underway; actually, it’s nearing completion.
Along the way, additions and enhancements to the original plan have been proposed, such as a splash park, skateboard/trick bike parks, pavilion, lighting and restroom facilities enhancement, etc. Even though the additional amenities would significantly increase the estimated cost of the park — bringing the total projected cost to around $1.4 million — metro board members gradually conceded the additions.
It seems only fair that Pueblo West residents should have a nice community park facility where all kinds of public activities may be accommodated; particularly considering the extraordinary sum of money the district spends yearly on the exclusive, limited-purpose Desert Hawk Golf Course, which only golfers and golf course property owners may enjoy first hand. The golf course provides intrinsic value exclusive to those two limited classes of people. But the rest of the community may only receive psychic value from it; that is, if they happen to appraise the golf course while passing by on their way to and from other destinations — whereas, all residents may equally enjoy all the amenities of the new Civic Center Park.
Nevertheless, a line had to be drawn against escalating costs of the project. McCarthy, Martin and Vickers concluded that the line should be drawn against adding additional parking spaces at this time, over and above the originally planned number of spaces, when there is presently no way to accurately determine the total number of parking spaces that ultimately may be desirable. They reasoned that once the park is open and some experience is gained on which to form the basis for a judgment, additional parking spaces can always be added if and when a need for more spaces is demonstrated.
It’s a good outcome when a majority of metro board members come together and prevail in keeping faith with the public’s interests; especially considering that some of them seem relentlessly eager when in contemplation of spending what is commonly referred to as OPM (other peoples’ money).