YOUR OPINION: How much is too much to spend on a West U park?

September 13, 2017

We love our parks in West University Place. But when does that love morph into offensive opulence? We will be doing a story on this issue in the October West University Essentials magazine – and we really want your opinion. If you do not want to post on this website or on Facebook, my email is [email protected]

The background for the instant case is simple – a gracious resident, James Hughes, passed away and he donated his oversized property and $200K to the city for a specific use – Hughes wanted the land to become a “passive” public park named after his mother. The new parkland is located at 6446 Sewanee St.

Ergo, Jennie Elizabeth Hughes Park – all thanks to a generous, now deceased, lifelong resident.

Then a citizen committee was formed and met many times over the course of about a year. The city paid a parks expert to digest the committee’s desires and collectively they came up with a plan who’s preliminary budget includes expenditures of about $700K, a nifty excess over the $200K that Hughes envisioned would be the maximum project cost. And Mayor Susan Sample and several other members of the city council displayed a dose of sticker shock when they decided to table the proposal at last Monday’s city council meeting. 

Hughes wanted a quiet park, the word he memorialized in his will was “passive.” So no playground equipment like slides or swings – the planned seating is limited to a few park benches and a lone picnic table.

But the preliminary budget earmarks $150K for walls and $100K for a front porch shade structure, and a total of up to about $100K for design services to project designer White Oak Studios.  

Please tell us your thoughts. Here is a link to the plan on the West University Place City Council agenda where this matter was discussed. Take a look at the presentation and please give us your opinion.

George Boehme

George Boehme is the publisher of and West University Essentials magazine.

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