Your View: Invest people in park, not city tax money

Nov. 20, 2013 @ 06:26 PM

Although I’m not a resident of High Point, I have many friends and relatives who are, so I try to keep up with city news.  The recent donation of land for a city park off of Westchester and Burton and the accompanying discussion of a possible $5 million bond referendum for park development caught my eye.  The “normal” bureaucratic process would be issue the bonds (go into debt) and then pay a (politically connected) consultant an inflated fee to design the park. This leaves the taxpayers out of the loop, except when they write their annual property tax checks.
Why not involve the citizens, save some money, and get people physically and emotionally invested in the new park.  Check with Guilford Tech or DCCC and see if they have a landscape design student who could get credit by designing a master site plan.  Contact local hiking clubs or scout troops and ask if they’d help by walking over the land and laying out/flagging the trails. Local civic groups (Rotary, Kiwanis, Y’s Men, Scouts, etc.) and volunteers could chainsaw and clear brush to make the trails and high school shop classes could make the signs, gaining experience using saws and routers in the process.  Building benches and trash-can stands and erecting trail map kiosks would be good Eagle Scout projects.
If the Enterprise would run a list of contributors, local businesses would likely donate the moderate amount of lumber, nails, and screws needed for the project.  All the city would need to do is clear and gravel a parking lot and build restrooms, certainly not a $5 million project!
This could get people from all ages, races, and walks of life working together and involved in THEIR park, while saving taxpayers an unnecessary expense. I’m betting that there are a lot of talented, civic-minded people in High Point who would love to get involved in something like this, but it’s just an idea.
PHIL SLOAN
Thomasville

 

YOUR VIEW POLLS

Officials at The City Project, which aims to spur redevelopment of High Point’s downtown, say the idea to turn “the pit” off High Avenue into a downtown attraction for young people could cost $1 million. Should the city ante up some cash for the venture? In 30 words or less (no name, address required), email your thoughts to letterbox@hpe.com or go to hpe.com under Opinion and post a comment. Here are three responses posted on hpe.com:
• TaxpayerOne: The city should lease the property to a private entity who will agree to refurbish and operate the “Pit.” Assuming, of course, that any private business person would actually be interested in the thing.
• Gunner  to TaxpayerOne: We get the rent and visitor overflow, and private venture folk take the risk: a win/win. ... Heck, maybe “starchitecht” Duany will invest in his own good idea, not.
• Thoughtful tax payer: We need to attract youth to our city. There are 300,000 students within 75 miles who are in process of deciding where to live and where to start their careers. Currently most are choosing the Triangle or Charlotte. No surprise, more to do more opportunity. We need to show them that High Point is an exciting place for creativity and business opportunity. Please move forward with the entire City Plan of which The Pit is a crucial piece. It doesn’t hurt either that the train station is across the street. They will come in on the 5pm train and leave on the 1am train. In the middle they will spend money and hopefully discover High Point as an interesting place to live.