I want to thank all the people that either phoned the office or sent emails to Council Members, either in support of a
or in support of Hugh Smith. Yesterday at the afternoon session of the Council Meeting, I had the support of the community to fund a senior recreation center in the west or northwest. The problem is that between Kathryn Wilemon and me, we simply came up short on horsepower. Senior Center
Let me just say that in my opinion, the arguments against the senior center were hollow. The fact that there wasn’t a study done is moot. The fact that we didn’t know exactly where we wanted to put the center is irrelevant. We were there to fund projects not build them. Dr. Cavazos doesn’t know where he will put the natatorium, but he has the funding for it. That’s how bond issues work.
The real reason for the defeat of the senior center is that it was not previously on the Parks Master Plan. You see the Parks Department presented the senior center to the Citizens Bond Committee. The Parks Department’s job is to fund the projects on the Master Plan and get them off the books and funded. If someone comes along with a need that is higher than those on the Master Plan, it simply gets paid lip service, and projects on the Master Plan get promoted in the funding process. That is what happened yesterday. The fact that $50.2 million in capital funding went to two recreation centers in the east and southeast is of little consequence. The fact that the utilization of Hugh Smith is abysmal, and that the Parks Department is hoping to return 49% at best in Operations/Maintenance costs was disregarded. The needs of the city and our seniors went neglected, again.
We elevated the discussion of a senior center to the surface. Now it is time to put it back on the table in a context that will be supported by the voters. It will not set next to the bond election on the November ballot. But we will bring this subject back to Council for the May election and I hope to allow the voters an opportunity to hear your voice again.