The Opechee Park Clubhouse project is a low 18th on the Capital Improvements Program "wish list" for very good reasons: it would ruin the new view across Opechee Bay to the distant mountains for residents and tourists alike, put a new and continuing burden on local taxpayers, fill no need which can now be taken up by the private sector, and places a building on soggy land which contributed to the rotting of the old, minimally-used clubhouse.
Ruining the newly-opened view is self-evident. Less obvious are the "needs: of an out-of-town group for a space to use three or four hours per week (or was it per month?) which they have already found (with very little work) elsewhere. That group offers no evidence of having burdened their leadership's communities with a $110,000 plus facility. They want to play while Laconia's taxpayers pay (at 3.04 percent interest).
Although a few community-minded ladies would like to regain their lost meeting place at the park, they did not reply to the suggestion that their societies could meet elsewhere at no cost to the public: the new Boys and Girls Club across the street (which could use the rental income), various churches with abundant places for meetings, or private businesses which often offer free rooms for such groups.
Events such as baby and weeding showers, kids' birthday parties, and post-funeral collections can also use many of those locations. Whatever happened to using one's own living room or den for association meetings or neighborhood get-togethers, as others do? Must we all pay for the entertainment of a few.
As noted by Councilor Brenda Baer, our Parks Department already needs more money and manpower. Must an entire city suffer while a favored few play or socialize?
Re-using the same sodden ground for a new clubhouse after the old one rotted makes no sense. Our beloved Smith Track suffers from water problems and the remedy is to cost a frightful $300,000!
Not rebuilding the clubhouse will allow for moving 10 parking spaces from beside Smith Track to the old footprint. The freed-up green area will get us a better track and field facility; this can be done for less than $110,000.
It's time for commons sense to prevail over politics and personal desires. Move the Opechee Park Clubhouse project off the Capital Improvements "wish" List.
Or can we use high taxes and a permanent drain on our city's budget.
Thomas G. Kudzma