We need to get MAD about Parks & Rec

The recent article of “Revamping: Marshalltown Skate Park updates to begin in 2018” brings out many questions that need to be answered.

I am not against improvements in our parks and agree that our teens and seniors need to be better served by our parks … but why isn’t the City of Marshalltown focusing on and following the recommendations of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan?

This master plan cost taxpayers over $55,000 in 2017. The plan recommendations were based on citizen surveys. The focus desired by our citizens was to have the city set priorities addressing maintenance, accessibility and safety issues before any additional amenities were added to our parks. This direction for our parks was echoed in meetings held with consultants, city staff, and city council. I would encourage EVERYONE to read the Master Plan which is found on the city of Marshalltown website under Parks and Recreation.

To point out a few items in the master plan regarding skate park …

• Page 39 .. only two additional skate park features were recommended. Why adding features (before the park maintenance, accessibility, and safety issues have been taken care of)? Why adding eight features with a projected cost of between $ 65,000-$70,000 instead of two features?

• Page 50 … under Recreation Program Assessment for Teenagers, additional skate park features are not listed as a priority.

• Addendum C.1. Teen Question 6: What type of activities would you be interested in participating in? Skateboarding ranked low.

There are several other areas in the master plan that show that revamping the skate park is NOT a priority that should be undertaken next summer. We need to follow the desired citizen focus of maintenance, accessibility, and safety as they will have lasting multiple impacts for our citizens and city parks.

It appears to me, the voice of our citizens is being ignored. Once again … special interests that do not serve a broad population are taking priority. The city of Marshalltown is not following their own rules regarding the process that must be followed prior to any changes in the parks that we ALL own and are paying for.

In closing, be MAD (Make A Difference) and demand answers on how our tax dollars are being spent. Join me in questioning why our city leaders are ignoring the Parks and Recreation master plan that was supposed to be the blueprint for any and all changes to our parks.