Meridian Star

Letters

May 12, 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

MERIDIAN — Support the county bond issue

Hello WLYA Friends,

    As you may know, the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors received a petition at last Monday’s meeting to force the bond issue to a vote. Preliminary count on the petition is 1,554 names. Because of all the misleading information being spread by certain people that oppose our projects, the board also voted to make the names on the petitions public. The petition can be viewed on our website www.wlya.net, or on the Board of Supervisors website at www.lauderdalecounty.org/pdfdocs/Petition.pdf.

    Please take a minute to look through all the names to see if you recognize anyone’s name. There is still time for their name to be removed from the petition if they want to do so, but we must act quickly. There is also available on the WLYA website a form that was issued by the county which can be filled out and notarized and returned to the Chancery Clerk’s office.

    This form is to be used to have your name removed from the petition. It will be a headache to get it notarized, but with the short time frame, we want the name removal to be unquestionable. If we can get 55 names removed from the petition, then it will be declared void and the supervisors can proceed with the vote on the bond issue. These forms have to be turned in to the Chancery Clerks office by close of business on Friday, May 17, in time for the next board meeting on Monday 20.

    This is a call for action. For years many of you have said, “Whatever I can do to help, I will be glad to do it.”Now is the time. It will take a few minutes out of everyone’s busy schedule to do this, but the reward will be our long awaited community complex. I’m listing the facts about this bond issue and our project below to help you explain to your friends or family why they need to have their name removed from the petition.

    There are several opponents of the WLYA and Clarkdale projects; mainly the group that wants to build a centralized sports complex in the city. In an article in the Meridian Star, the following false statements were made to the press:

    1. Clarkdale has no kids to play sports. Not true. Three or four years ago Clarkdale had a thriving sports program, but were forced to leave the fields they were playing on. Those who can afford it have since been forced to travel elsewhere around the county to play; the rest simply didn’t get to play. This bond will give this community their fields back.

    2. The article says this group wants to build a new multi-million dollar complex in the city; and wants to rebuild Phil Hardin Park and Magnolia Park. Well, what about North East Park, Sammie Davis Park and QV Sykes Park? Do they want to renovate those as well?? How much money do they intend to spend and how many fields and complexes do they want in the city? The city has several baseball and softball fields already and it’s time for some areas of the county to get fields and Collinsville and Clarkdale have developed projects which are ready to go.

    3. Proponents of the Central Complex say kids from all over the county will come to a central location in Meridian. Not true. There are already sports leagues in Meridian that most of the county kids don’t participate in now and they won’t come to a new complex in Meridian for league play. Traveling sports teams and tournament teams would be the primary users. WLYA will continue to have its community leagues whatever happens.

    4. Have vs Have Nots  – The opponents have tried to spin this as east versus west. Northeast Park has a program and as I have said Clarkdale did have a program until they were forced off their field. Their new field would serve the south east part of the county. If other areas of the county want a place to play then they too can go to work getting land secured just as we have. This is more of a case of workers versus complainers. The city already has several baseball fields being used, why abandon these and build a huge complex that may or may not be able to generate enough money to sustain itself.

    Other misleading facts:

    A letter being handed out with the petitions at Lakeview Golf Course says the Meridian Sports complex would include funding to renovate the golf course! Really? So the Central Complex group is proposing to renovate all the parks in Meridian and the Lakeview Golf Course and build a multi-million dollar sports complex in the city as well? And all this work is supposed to be done without any funding in place or property to build on? They claim a food and beverage tax can be passed to help fund their project; a new tax? The bond issue currently under consideration can be passed without raising anyone’s taxes.

    Several citizens that I have talked to were asked to sign or did sign the petition under the impression that the petition would stop one of the four projects in the bond issue. Not true. The bond issue is for four projects: 1) WLYA community complex, 2) Clarkdale Community Complex, 3) Highland Park Basketball Complex and 4) renovations to the courthouse. A vote against the bond is a vote against all four projects.

    Some citizens were even told that the petition was for the bond issue. It is not, it will stop the supervisors from being able to vote on the bond approval and force them to spend $30,000 on an election in which everyone will then vote on the bond issue.

    Other facts that everyone should know about our projects:

    Both the WLYA and Clarkdale groups are building a community complex, not a sports complex as is being pitched for the city. Our projects have walking trails, soccer fields, tennis courts, play ground equipment, buildings for family reunions and birthday celebrations. Sporting events are just a part of these community projects. These new complexes will host tournaments too! Even if located in the county, these tournaments will generate funds for the city of Meridian – at motels, restaurants, convenience stores, etc.

    I represent the WLYA group and have worked closely with the Clarkdale group and am very familiar with their project. I’m not as familiar with the basketball complex being proposed at Highland Park; but why not this project? I’ve heard a lot of opposition to this project as well. How can you support a recreational complex for one group or area and not another? The WLYA supports all these projects, just as we support our own. We are not opposed to any one of them. Why not support the kids of the entire Lauderdale County and city by giving them safe, healthy and fun activities at one of these parks?

    WLYA and Clarkdale will maintain their new complexes as well as pay the water and power bills! Our groups have already donated our property to Lauderdale County and have executed lease agreements which require our groups to run and maintain these complexes. There will no cost to the county to own and operate these facilities.  

    Folks, its time the truth was told about this bond issue. The Collinsville and Clarkdale folks have worked for years getting land secured and ready. Now, it appears that the Central Complex group wants to stomp on our efforts and try to force the county to once again build a sports facility for Meridian, leaving the county out once again.

    But the truth is, they have no land, they have no plans – only big ideas – and they have no funding in place nor land secured to accomplish what they want. The Board of Supervisors has told them time after time, that such an expensive complex in the city will take help from the City of Meridian; and that if the city was able to support such a project the supervisors would help as well. So why stop our projects?

    Now that you know the truth about our projects and what the intent of the bond issue is, please contact anyone you know on the petition and ask them to please have their name removed as soon as possible. Thank you for your support of these projects!

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