Letter: Look Forward, Not Backward

I was highly impressed with the Town-Crier’s New Year’s issue where the resolutions for Wellington were printed out. Especially the resolution that wanted our community leaders, business community, council persons and residents to work together to create a new positive vision for our outstanding community. Stay away from the dysfunction and the inability to act that is on display in Washington and Tallahassee. Our local government affects our lives, our families, our homes and our jobs every day. The Village of Wellington should be a priority to all of us.

Moving forward to resolve our equestrian issues, addressing infrastructure issues, keeping costs and budgets down, moving forward on the consolidation of a Town Center by buying the adjacent business complex and addressing the Wellington Community Center/Tennis Center with a positive plan — this shows me that the council can move forward and have a vision of what our community should look like decades from now. Kudos to the residents, business community, staff and the council for being proactive and forward looking.

Recently though, some residents have expressed an interest to not move forward with some of the recommendations and projects. I respect their opinion, and their right to state it in letters and at council meetings. Being a resident for 22 years, I understand the resistance to change and what it brings. But a good friend of mine, Charlie Lynn, always told me, “You can’t stop change, only direct it, and direct it in a way that makes the most people happy.” I miss him.

Most of those opposed to the Wellington Community Center/Tennis Center project are highly uninformed and against change for change’s sake. Buildings are initially designed for a specific purpose, as the present community center was designed as a sales office for Corepoint Inc. The bottom level was a parking garage. Since then, over the last 30 years, it has been a clubhouse, a restaurant, a fitness club, a storage facility, village council chambers and a makeshift community center. The lower level concrete has deteriorated so much that the re-bar is corroding and deteriorating, which is extremely serious to structural integrity.

The tennis center has much of the original fencing, court material, irrigation system and lighting from decades ago. Being in the business for years, tennis courts are replaced every 15 to 20 years at the latest, not 30. Most court contractors will highly recommend not to re-condition courts that old, or put replacements over a previous court in place that long.

The current tennis site is inadequate for current play at peak times, and the court quality is average at best. In addition, parking is nonexistent and cannot accommodate any event that is happening at the amphitheater, pool, community center or tennis courts, let alone everyday events.

Let’s stop kicking the can down the road and move forward. If you put your head in the sand for another 3 to 5 years, it will cost double the current estimate to build similar facilities that are now proposed. How is that being fiscally conservative? Give our staff time to negotiate a lower cost for the project, and build in a longer time frame that will not pose any economic hardship on the village or residents, and move forward with a positive vision and plan.

My advice to those opposed: suck it up and drive the extra 10 minutes to the new tennis site for the benefit of the next generation, and Councilman Coates, we know this is an election year, but don’t use this issue as a debate point in your campaign. You will lose.

Steve Haughn, Wellington