Tempers flare as council discusses West Side Park

Jacob Smith • Sep 19, 2017 at 8:38 PM

During the communications from citizens portion of the Lebanon City Council meeting, three different residents gave their opinions on the proposed West Side Park.

Barbara Payne, a member of the West Side Park Task Force who voted against recently proposed plans, spoke first representing herself and two other task force members, Traci Peel and Paul Gould, in opposition.

“For the same amount of money earmarked for West Side Park, Lebanon could have five additional policemen each year for the next 20 years,” said Payne, reading a statement written by Gould. “All 30,000-plus citizens would have benefited from the additional policemen, whereas about 3,000 persons will use [West Side] Park.”

Payne read statements prepared by each of the opposing members of the West Side Park Task Force, ending with her own.

“Do not make the mistake of accepting the recommendations from the task force,” said Payne. “The West Side Park project is like putting lipstick on a pig. My participation in the task force has been an exercise in futility for what I see as my obligation to operate in the best interest of the citizens with quizzical conservation and sensibility.”

Payne’s challenge to the council was met by two rebuttals from fellow task force members, Amber Hurdle and Jenny Lind Brinkman.

Brinkman, head of the task force, said she felt good about the job done by the task force.

“We worked very hard, met multiple times with the associates to finalize the design,” said Brinkman. “I’m a parks and rec professional with 17-plus years, and I can speak to the integrity of this design. We are going to be staying within the $5 million budget.”

After Brinkman finished speaking, Mayor Bernie Ash offered his opinion on the job done by the task force.

“I would like to thank the task force,” said Ash. “You were tasked with coming up with a design for the West Side Park, and you did, and I appreciate the hard work you put into it. I commend you. We will take on the budget when we get to it, and that’s the way it’s supposed to work, but you worked hard, and you did a good job.”

The resolution to accept the recommendations from the task force passed unanimously.

In other business, the council recognized the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 1004. The chapter was recognized nationally as having the largest number of volunteer hours in the country.

The council also presented a check for $10,000 to the American Red Cross for relief efforts after hurricanes Harvey and Irma.


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