Playground only for select groups

To the Editor:

A letter in last week’s Record was correct when it stated, “If my family spends $100 a week in Little Falls, we would only be paying 50 cents a week to have a beautiful recreational complex for our family.”

For those living close to the complex, like the mayor who lives 5/8 of a mile from the complex, it may be a good deal — but everyone who shops in Little Falls would pay the .5 percent tax.

Maintenance costs for the complex were projected at $25,000 – $30,000 annually. $25,000 is equivalent to one person working for $12 an hour, 40 hours, 52 weeks a year. Just to maintain the playground? Excessive.

How many months will the playground be used for? What’s included in “maintenance”?

In reality, those who use it should pay for it.

That $30,000 figure came from Councilman Zylka, who thought it was a reasonable amount. Of course, that “complex” is only a mile and a quarter from his front door.

In my opinion, this “complex” wasn’t meant to be used by all Little Falls residents, only select groups. Vote “no” to a sales tax that only supports select groups and hurts the elderly and others with low incomes. — Jake Wiherski, Little Falls


  • tmac

    “In reality, those who use it should pay for it.”
    How do you propose to do that?
    Charge kids at the gates?(Not sure there are any as of now, an added expense.)
    You really do want only the select few to use it it seems.
    Will there be a living wage payed to the person taking the money?(another added expense)
    Another question.
    How many other homes are located between a mile and a quarter and about one quarter of a mile away from this area? They can use this park too, right?
    One more question.
    Since this land was donated to the city, was there really much choice as to what land was available to use ?
    Those who make more tend to spend more therefore they will contribute a greater portion of total monies raised for this playground/complex, yet anyone will be able to use it.
    Sounds like a win/win situation to me.

    • Rick Witte

      tmac I was also a bit perplexed by the writers commentary concerning the select few who would be able to utilize the complex. While Little Falls may well be an older community as some seem to want to continually remind us of I would imagine that there still exist a fair number of young families within the playground age range.

      As to the locational comments in regard to the Mayor and Councilperson I can hardly imagine Cathy or Greg running rhythmically through the splashpad or engaging each other on the tetertoter. Would certainly be a site!

      No matter where the complex would be sited it would be close to some and a further distance for many. What suitable parkland within the Community would better fit this complex? Dont recall any park with enough vacant space.

      Does the writer also suggest that those that use other facilities within the Community also pay for their recreation. Shouldn’t golfers pay the full cost of operating the golf course. Why should non golfers pay for their recreation? This argument could/should also be extended to every amenity that is provided by the City.

      • J. SKI

        Read the reply to tmac above.
        And yes, other facilities within the community should be self-supporting with fees, memberships, donations and volunteers. Not everyone uses those facilities and no taxpayer money should be used to support them. The problem exists because some people seem to think it’s ok to have taxpayers foot the bill for part of their recreation. Or receive a grant, which is largely taxpayer money. Partially the reason this country is $18 billion in debt.
        When I was growing up in LF, there was a bowling alley located close to the center of town. It was always busy. Where it’s located now, you have to drive there to use it, and from what I’ve heard, they are not as busy as they used to be. They’ve even cancelled leagues on Wed. nights. There also was a “recreation” facility near Charlie’s Pizza that had roller skating, pool tables, pinball machines, etc. that was reasonably accessible to all. On the west side was a bar/pool hall and, even as teens, we would use the pinball machines in the Silver Treat Tavern. Those places have all disappeared.
        If the playground, by itself, is going to cost taxpayers $25,000-$30,000 for maintenance, what is the whole “complex” going to cost to maintain? $100,000 a year? $200,000? That’s a lot of money that could be utilized much better elsewhere.

  • newpolitiq7

    In trying to appreciate Mr. Wiherski’s concerns, I’m wondering if he worries that it will be difficult or dangerous for his (or other) kids to get to this community spot by bike, or by walking? I understand that might be a concern for some parents, given the location. I also appreciate the fact that the land for the “complex” was donated, and land like that (for possible splash pad) might not have been available in all the closer (right in town) locations. This is a difficult issue for me, because I understand the concerns of those who would prefer to just have an inexpensive, minor upgrade of their local “park”/playground, and I also understand wanting to take advantage of the private, family monies and donated land for this rec. complex. I also appreciate that yet another group of voters wants the $25K/yr. the City pitches in to go for the golf course, vs the money they might (jury still out) contribute on this.

    And, yet another local non-profit that benefits some children, Kinship of Morrison County, receives $40K+ per year in State tax dollars to do their admirable youth mentoring. (For how many kids/yr. I’m not sure — just as we’re not sure how many children might be served each year by a City park/rec complex like this.) These are difficult decisions — how to spend limited tax dollars for good — but possibly optional — activities.

    Given just the three venues above ($25-30K/yr. for this rec. complex; $25K/yr. for the golf course or $40K/yr. for Kinship Mentoring), I’m more satisfied giving limited tax dollars (from whichever gov’t pot of money they emerge) to the larger number of kids potentially served by the recreational complex. But, I’m also happy it will be on the ballot, since everyone deserves a right to weigh in on this.

    As an aside, would there be any reason that those who golf couldn’t just pay a bit more for their memberships and fees? Or maybe these fees are too expensive, already? Not sure.