Thursday night, the Dunlap City Commission wrestled with rising costs
on several park improvement projects. The problem is the projects
have been delayed too long, even as the cost of material has risen in
the past couple of years, and now the bids are coming in over budget.
Phase 2 of Harris Park improvements was first planned two years ago,
city residents were encouraged to go online and answer questions at
Survey Monkey with regard to recreational opportunities they would
like to see made available in Dunlap.
“family pavilion/farmer's market” was overwhelmingly the favorite
of the 681 respondents, with a “splash pad” for children in
second place. There also was interest in a skateboard park and a dog
the past two years, several variables in this equation have shifted:
has been an unacceptable delay in starting. The big sign out at
Harris Park that says construction is scheduled to begin in 2017 is
way out of date. Here we are, at the end of 2018, with not a sign of
any ground-breaking yet. Although Mayor Land blames the delay on a
fickle state bureaucracy, it is unlikely the state bears all the
blame. As the Dunlap City Commission and landscape architect
Benjamin Farmer have dilly-dallied, the price of materials has risen
with an improving national economy. If they had made this project a
higher priority, that might not have happened.
unrelated to the original goal have been tacked on to Phase 2 of the
Harris Park improvements. No one answering the online survey said
anything about grassing-in the area in front of the stage, or
prepping Harris Park for Valley Fest to move there, but those have
been slipped into the plans, anyway. The people of Dunlap wanted (1)
a farmer's market, and (2) a splash pad. Where does grass-for-gravel
or electric outlets for Valley Fest fit into that?
family pavilion/farmer's market was NUMBER ONE on the survey. It was
the very first and most desired improvement to Harris Park in the
eyes of the people. But now it is on the chopping block. Mention
has been made numerous times in city meetings about, “if we have to
drop the farmer's market.” A simple roof and tables would do for
most people, with a sign inviting local growers and farmers to sell
their products on such-and-such a day. How expensive can that
city has a million dollars to play with – $1,000,000. That is
money that the hard-working people of Dunlap put in their hands.
people in Dunlap can imagine a lot of ways to make this work – to
build both a farmer's market and a splash pad, without the Valley
Fest accommodations or the grass, and at a price Dunlap can afford.
It should not be that hard.
the city leaders should remember whose money it is, and for what
purpose it was put in their hands.