From now until the election, the Town-Crier will ask questions each week to the four Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors Seat 2 and Seat 4 candidates. This week’s question: What are your thoughts regarding ITID’s plans for the expansion of Acreage Community Park? What, if anything, would you like to see done differently?
SEAT 2 CANDIDATES
The ITID board has suspended all Acreage Community Park expansion plans due to the fact that the focus of ITID has been brought back to fixing, repairing and regrouping its core mission, which was provoked by the serious flood issues we encountered with Tropical Storm Isaac. As I have stated before, ITID had moved from its true reason for existing, which is drainage and maintenance of our roads, canals and easements serving our community.
The online survey for Acreage Community Park was seriously flawed when only 120 residents replied. All Acreage Community Park expansions and/or uses must take into consideration all of our 40,000 residents’ opinions. ITID now has time to reach out to all of our residents and truly see the vision of what our community wants and needs for our children to have a safe and enjoyable park experience. Due to the unique aspect of our rural community, the vision for the park could be a passive use, which would lower the costs considerably from what was first proposed without adequate input from our residents.
The Indian Trail Improvement District park system adds much-needed recreational services to our community. The expansion of Acreage Community Park is a positive improvement to community; part of the continuing recreational service to our community.
I feel that this expansion is critical to moving our community forward. I have always said, “If you build it, they will come.” We have seen this time and time again with Nicole Hornstein Equestrian Park, Kidscape Park and the new library. A project like this serves to move our community forward, help shore up home prices and provide continued needed recreational services to our residents.
For the past two years, the district has engaged the community in making this expansion a reality. From a public charrette to working with various community groups, the vision of the expansion has grown from the roots of our community. Many long hours and discussions have been invested in assuring that the community’s voice was heard. The online survey is just one example of the input we had during the two-year process. The combination of all the public input, input from various community organizations and a unanimous vote by the board, the community center would be the first phase of the expansion. The community center will provide taxpayers with some recovery of cost. This would be due to rentals of space in the center and a percentage of fees charged by vendors that would provide the various services.
As we pay it forward to future generations of The Acreage with this expansion, we are providing an important core foundation that would tie our community together for years to come.
SEAT 4 CANDIDATES
I believe The Acreage deserves a community center — a large covered building offering multiple activities serving both our youth and adult population. It should offer exercise classes, ballet, hip-hop, karate, volleyball, summer camps, concerts, arts and crafts, and so much more. I believe our community deserves what every community typically offers in small towns across America.
I also believe the community center will be able to accommodate weddings, family gatherings or maybe even father-daughter dances. The building itself will offer so much additional opportunity for activities and events.
The ITID board approved the community center unanimously, utilizing capital building funds already identified. The board also placed the priority and emphasis on seeking additional resources such as grants for matching funds, stretching our resources so we can add the other amenities planned in the park.
With Tropical Storm Isaac’s arrival, the board also voted unanimously to postpone Acreage Community Park temporarily until the assessment, cost analysis and identifying the resources for the drainage improvements needed. Hopefully, with the support and resources from the state, county and other government agencies, these costs will be drastically reduced, allowing funding to remain for the community center. However, at this time, that decision is premature.
I absolutely love the idea of the expansion of the park. We need more things in the park for the kids. I really like the idea of a water park; whoever came up with that idea, thank you!
I also like the idea of having a community center, but I do not feel we can afford it right now. We have many more important things that we need to take care of before doing the community center. Our focus should be on the canals first.
I would like to see maybe a place for people to get together on weekends to dance, with some sort of flooring and covering, and a place for a DJ to play music. We could make it a family night out without going to a bar. Another idea would be an area for the kids to use their paint balls. A rock wall would be nice but not very practical because something like that would require supervision and people to man the ropes, but it is just a thought.
I am sure the residents could come up with more ideas. Maybe this question should go to them and ask them what they would like in the park.