This letter is a rebuttal to the “facts” political ad by Diamond P Enterprises Inc. printed in Sunday’s May 4 Brownwood Bulletin.
Citizen’s of Brownwood, let’s not be misled by the half-truth “facts” stated in Diamond P’s political ad.
First, the total “pie in the sky” Parks Improvement Plan would cost over $20 million, but that is not what is proposed to the voters this coming Saturday. What is proposed are only the first two phases including the pool, senior citizens facility and baseball/softball fields; not the proposed soccer/football fields or a wellness center. Hopefully, once construction begins, excitement starts and interest is peaked, more funds can be raised to continue the Parks Plan. Every good venture starts with a grandiose plan and is implemented in phases. No one is promising the completion of all four phases at this time.
It may never happen, but the citizens of Brownwood do have this chance to get the first two phases completed with the endorsement of the Brownwood Economic Development Corporation and the generosity of the Brownwood Industrial Foundation.
Second, the pool itself is not $1.6 million. This estimate includes site preparation, parking facilities for the pool, new restroom/changing room facilities and engineering costs. Each proposition must have a “stand alone” estimate in the unfortunate event that all three propositions do not pass.
Third, all outdoor pools in Texas are basically open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This pool will be no different.
Fourth, no one is saying a pool should pay for itself. No pool has, (unless it’s a Schlitterbahn). That’s not the point. A municipal pool is an amenity to the city for all citizens to enjoy, not a money making venture.
Fifth, the city has been “getting by” with its nine baseball/softball fields, but it hasn’t been easy or convenient. Games have had to be scheduled late into the night to get all games played, or games are scheduled early so they can be completed before dark on the fields without lights. Some fields are too small for all ages to use for games. During tournaments, fields at the High School, Howard Payne, and in Early have had to be used. The new fields would be of size for all ages to use, and the extra fields would decrease the late night play and tournaments could all remain at the one convenient facility.
Sixth, yes, there is some floodplain on the property of the proposed ball fields and pool. However, the flood maps show the floodplain is limited to the far western portion of the property where no ball fields, concession facilities or pool are planned to be located. The only improvement planned for the floodplain area is the construction of detention ponds which would decrease any flooding impact on the property and the properties downstream — a definite enhancement.
Seventh, as stated earlier, voters are not being asked to fund the soccer/football fields in this vote. They are part of a future phase to be constructed as funds become available.
Eighth, the current location of the pool, senior citizen’s center and ball fields are inadequate. The cost to rehab the current pool in its current location, update the pumps, and improve the restrooms is comparable to building a whole new facility. The current senior citizen’s center is falling apart. The floor is sagging and being eaten up by termites.The new facility would be centrally located and provide a safer, larger, venue for our seniors.The space needed for new ball fields just isn’t there at the current location.
Many different designs and layouts have been reviewed using only the current land area, but the shape and size just doesn’t work without the acquisition of adjacent property not owned by the city. There is no room for expansion, so what is the advantage of just repositioning the current nine fields? This makes the current location undesirable.
The Brownwood Industrial Foundation is willing to donate the required property if it is used for this parks improvement plan. The current ball fields could remain in use while the new ones are being constructed and the city’s summer programs would not be interrupted. What a wonderful opportunity for the City of Brownwood and all its citizens to benefit. That is why I’m voting for propositions 2, 3, and 4.