To the editor:
I was very disappointed to read that the City Commission is seriously considering pursuit of a new recreation center in West Lawrence (Journal-World, Oct. 26).
It appears that the Self Foundation’s offer of one-time funding is clouding the commission’s view of reality. Let me offer a reality check: Lawrence is talking about closing schools (which are largely funded with property tax dollars); city service fees and charges continue to go up; the city has reduced its staffing by 16 percent and is woefully behind in addressing badly needed infrastructure repairs (our drinking water intake comes immediately to mind). I also have serious equity concerns about investing this level of funding in West Lawrence wellness when many folks in East Lawrence don’t even have sidewalks!
Does the City know what the indirect or overhead costs of the proposed facility will be? Will the facility truly be self-supporting? Will its useful life exceed the term of financing? Will project revenues be sufficient to service long-term debt?
There are a lot of unanswered questions here. In light of current economic conditions, how on earth can the city justify going further into debt for this sort of extravagant and open-ended expenditure?
If this project offers such a great return on investment — as its boosters assert (many of whom are bankers and developers, mind you) — why not let the private sector do it?
Sure smells like a boondoggle to me.