During a March 13 Mayor and Commission work session meeting, Mayor Nancy Denson asked staff to prepare a review of the Boulevard Woods proposal. This is an important step forward because it gives ACC staff a clear signal that the Mayor and Commission are interested in our proposal.
Thank you Mayor Denson!
We weren't surprised by Denson's helpful request. But the meeting was interesting for other reasons.
The Mayor's request on our behalf came during a presentation by Leisure Services Director Pam Reidy about future goals and strategies for her department.
Reidy announced that Leisure Services future resources would go first to maintaining and repairing ACC's existing network of parks. This makes sense in a time of tight finances. But she also announced that as a general strategy going forward Leisure Services would continue to prefer larger, multi-use parks located on the outskirts of town and continue to de-emphasize smaller neighborhood parks.
There is a logic behind taking this approach: fewer larger parks are easier and therefore cheaper to maintain than lots of little parks.
But Reidy, who has been very helpful with Boulevard Woods to date, acknowledged that there was lively interest in neighborhood parks, and pointed to Boulevard Woods as an example. Because of this interest and because Leisure Service's strategy will be focused on maintenance and larger parks, she and Deputy Manager Bobby Snipes recommended that a review process be established to evaluate proposals for neighborhood parks.
From a county-wide policymaking perspective, this makes sense, too. No one wants to have parks in places that conflict with better uses for the land; nor in neighborhoods that don't want them; nor ones that will be costly to maintain.
We're confident that Boulevard Woods will pass any reasonable review process: we're located on a parcel that would be hard to use any other way; it's a convenient location serving at least three neighborhoods; it's popular; it's low-cost; it's well-designed and it won't cost ACC very much at all. In short, we've done a pretty thorough review process ourselves already. We're ready and eager to move forward now.
There is a lot of support for Boulevard Woods on the commission. Mayor Denson seems very intrigued by the project. Commissioners Kelly Girtz, Mike Hamby, Jared Bailey and Kathy Hoard are all strong supporters. Others Commissioners also seemed impressed with our work so far.
With their help and yours, we'll be pushing for timely action on Boulevard Woods.