When I posted last week’s poll on Sunday September 23rd it didn’t look like we were going to see progress toward getting the new $22 million O’Fallon Park Recreation Center open for business. Agreement was reached the next day, but political posturing didn’t end.
Monday September 24th – 1pm
One of the key items announced was “1300 low income kids will get $25 memberships at the O’Fallon Recreation Center.” This is $25 per year, not per month. See the fact sheet here.
Ald. French was glad more specifics were formerly outlined in the documents — that was the goal. It just needed to get through the Board of Aldermen.
Friday September 28th
David Hunn of the Post-Dispatch reported the debate on the bill lasted for over an hour, with many in support:
Aldermen were not uniformly uncritical. Some worried about costs in years to come. Others complained that their wards lacked similarly updated facilities. Alderman Joe Roddy cautioned that the city was gaining a “champagne” appetite when what it really needed was inexpensive access for residents.
But only Alderman Steve Conway spoke fervently against French. He thought the 21st Ward alderman, who has been a paid campaign consultant for mayoral hopeful and board President Lewis Reed, delayed the center’s opening to make Slay look bad. (stltoday.com)
The bill passed, including a yes from Conway. The final vote will be this Friday October 5th. The facility should open by late this year or early 2013.
Q: Thoughts On The Not Yet Open O’Fallon Park Recreation Complex
- The African-American Aldermanic Caucus is trying to make Slay look bad, helping Reed in 2013 27 [29.35%]
- What about residents on the south side that can’t afford the new Carondelet YMCA? 25 [27.17%]
- If we’re subsidizing 60% of the operating costs then the agreement with the YMCA should require at least a 60% discount for low-income residents 12 [13.04%]
- We’re going to pay the YMCA $1.2 million per year to operate a building we spent $22 million to build? 10 [10.87%]
- Unsure/no opinion 9 [9.78%]
- Just sign the 10-year $12 million dollar deal, the YMCA will make sure low-income resident memberships are affordable 7 [7.61%]
- Other: 2 [2.17%]
The two “other” answers were:
- The deal is stupid, the city should manage the rec plex.
- What kind of idiot builds something that the intended customer can’t afford?
I see validity in Ald Roddy’s comments about champagne taste. The time to question it would’ve been 8 years ago when we voted to support the sales tax. In time these two large facilities will either be viewed as a great decision or a poor decision, it’s too soon to know.
– Steve Patterson