So...Did you vote yay or nay back in 2012 on the Civic Field bond issue? However you personally voted, the bond measure lost pretty decisively, and now the City (never a body to plan ahead) is scrambling to do...something.
This week, that something is the City hitting up the School Board for $140,000 - with the City putting up $60,000 - to help the City try and get a state grant that would match that $200,000 with another, all to go towards replacing the lighting at Civic Field. This coming at the same time that the School Board is considering a contract for $155,000 for their new superintendent. Timing is everything, isn't it?
Speaking of which...This is all coming up now, right now, because the City has a deadline of May 1st to submit the grant application. As in, one week after the school board considers this issue. That leaves absolutely no time for negotiations, a Plan B, etc. Typical City approach - wait until opportunity and/or disaster is looming, then do...something.
For background...Civic Field, a City-owned, regionally-used facility, has been left to slowly but steadily fall apart for decades. There's no hot water for the showers, the ground has no drainage and holds water like a sponge, and, per this issue, some of the ancient lights there have simply fallen down. Sort of like the City has in its duty to maintain their own facilities.
Civic Field: Look, but don't touch...
Back when the last bond was floated, the City Council was torn with how to proceed. Some, pointing out that it is a regional facility, argued for putting together a county-wide bond measure to try and broaden the base of support for repairs. Other Council members were so sure that the Civic Field bond was going to pass that they pushed to tie it to a bond for the new waterfront, thinking that would be a surefire winning combo.
Then they started to hear back from citizens that there was little support or enthusiasm for spending so much money on the waterfront. So the Council blinked, put the Civic Field measure out as a solo act, and it died. As noted above, they had no Plan B in place. They have been drifting ever since.
Typical, typical City. Let a facility (Civic Field) or a situation (garbage bluff) or even a state mandate (deal with the CSO issue) appear on their radar, then just sit and sit and sit for as long as possible, doing as little as possible in the interim. When the situation then eventually becomes an emergency, do...something. Or at least go through the motions of doing something.
Are they all that stupid? Is this a way for staff to create time-sensitive "emergencies" that allow them to ramrod through whatever they want? What explains this phenomenon?
Meanwhile, what are your thoughts on Civic Field? As our school enrollment continues to decline, does it make sense to pour money into facilities like Civic Field? Given that the voters rejected spending money on it, do you think that gives the School Board cover to also turn the City down?
Be sure to stay tuned for the next (exciting?) episode of Do...Something.