City does it again.  Voted tonight to spend money on another project before residents got an opportunity to discuss

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Tonight Monday Dec 10th 2012 residents learned about a proposed Music Center the city plans on building. Five minutes later council voted to spend $100,000 in order to commission a study that will tell them to commence with a project where they have already settled on the major details. This is a familiar story to the Aquatic center and the original disclosure of "The Heights Project".  As you may recall city council did not reveal the Aquatic Center until a few minutes before they authorized the expenditure of $700,000 to purchase the land.  By that time they had locked in that we were going to build an outside facility and the location of that facility.  Subsequently, they have never revealed any of the other options they consider or the depth at which they explored those options.  Council has decided to display that  same "we don't need the public's input" attitude for this project as well.  Keep in mind we ended up building the $6 million dollar project council designed and we paid $12 million for it.  Also, the recklessness of forgoing public input and instead relying just on the 9 members of council has resulted in the city building a 2000 seat Amphitheater in 2012 realizing it is not what council desired and then turning around and proposing today to build an $18 million 4500 seat semi-covered Music Center less than 4 blocks from the newly constructed Eichelberger Amphitheater. 
 
The Heights Project was cloaked in the same secrecy with the same reliance on just the 9 members of council.  That resulted in a situation where just a couple weeks after the development plan was signed the city deciding to spend $66,000 to commission an independent study to see if maybe it would be better to build an amusement park instead of a retail center. 

From these recent experiences we know that without a coordinate public request council will not tell us at an official on the record meeting why they decided on another amphitheater type venue instead of an enclosed venue.  They won't tell us what happened to the amusement park idea.  Like when they decided to purchase the 14 acres for the aquatic center, the 60 acres of property behind Gander Mountain is still being advertised at $15,000 per acre.  It still has the same advantages now as it had then; noise will not be as much of an issue since it is not too close to residential areas, it cost less to acquire, it is within the TIF district, it will draw for local businesses, it has built in free publicity since travelers can see it from I-70 and it is zoned the same way the aquatic center property was zoned when the city decided to buy it.  However, council won't go on record as to how much consideration this or any other piece of property was investigated as possible locations.
 
I personally believe council will benefit with our input.  I highly encourage you to ask council to provide us that opportunity in an official format like committee meetings so that the minutes get published on the city website.  Since we can be pretty much assured council's decision on this project has already been made part of our objective should be for them to document the other options they considered for not only this project but also "The Heights" and the Aquatic center.   
 

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