Instead of Closing Parks, Lawton Should Sell Park Sponsorships
How in the world does the City of Lawton have $14.6 million to purchase a growing-vacant and dying mall, plus an additional $2million to give to a not-yet-succeeding FISTA project, but they don't have enough money to keep the city parks open?
I worked briefly in my hometown's parks and recreation department, I know how much money is poured into labor costs to maintain city parks. It's mostly mowing, weed-eating, edging, etc... in most parks. That's pretty much all that is required in most of Lawton's parks, minor upkeep. Obviously, Elmer Thomas Park requires more attention, but they're talking about basic grounds keeping here...
Here's the long and short of it... Lawton has 74 parks. The City of Lawton says they don't have enough "staffers" in the parks department to support the maintenance needs of all 74 parks... Naturally, the option on the table is "Let's close some parks" instead of "Let's hire some more staffers."
I am absolutely convinced, at this point in time, we would all be better off if our city council would collectively pull a lip over their heads and swallow.
Where is the money? We had $2million laying around to keep FISTA on life support two weeks ago... Which one of these short-sighted city council goobers failed to cover Lawton's projects first?
Fool Me Once....
I'll admit it. There's a small part of me that thinks this is just the setup for another push for an additional tax... Like they'll ask you to vote for a Parks
and other things measure to grab some more of our dough, then still close the parks and fund something equally unpopular to the mall... like an indoor sports complex with non-standard field sizes that would inhibit attracting tournament play... Surely this isn't just another Lawton politician swindle, right?
Unlike our elected idiots, I'm a lot like you... a problem solver. Why is the default answer to a complex problem "Eh, close the parks..." It's such an obtuse solution to an easily solved problem. Instead, why don't they try selling corporate sponsorships to our parks and turn maintenance over to local businesses?
Before you laugh, remember how many "Adopt A Road" signs you've seen in your life. Companies will do anything for great PR, and this would be a golden opportunity as long as they can follow through. Then all of Lawton's 74 parks can remain open.
But wait, there's more...
Because sponsors really like to see their sponsorships being recognized, this could provide a little stimulation to the local economy, spreading the love around to our local sign shops.
Some of these sponsored parks might actually turn out to be a place people would actually want to hang out and spend the day. New installations, new things to do, less meth baggies...
For once in Lawton's lifetime, our kids could actually win one.
Closing down parks due to lawn mowing costs... pshh... What a bunch of weiners.
If you want to follow up on the full details, you'll find those here in the only paper worth reading in Southwest Oklahoma.