Evansville City Council votes down on new park proposal

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 10:27 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Evansville City Council voted down Monday night on an amendment that would have diverted money for a new park to the other parks in town in need of repair.

The city of Evansville wants to build Roberts Park on the grassy area where Roberts Stadium stood for half a century, but some people believe the city should take care of its existing parks before it builds any new ones.

They say the city of Evansville has earmarked money in next year’s budget for the establishment of Roberts Park which has sat empty since Roberts Stadium was demolished in 2013.

However, Councilwoman Missy Mosby, along with other members of the council, want to improve the city’s other parks before opening a brand new one. Mosby proposed an amendment to reallocate the 1 million dollars for Roberts Park to the parks in need of maintenance.

Councilman Jonathan Weaver supported Mosby’s argument.

“We’re going to have to get better at maintaining, and that’s the issue. to take on another huge park at this time is a disservice to the taxpayers and our community and everyone else that visits our town because we get constant complaints over the conditions of the parks,” Weaver says.

Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer proposed to include $300,000 in the budget for immediate park maintenance, which some council members believed was not enough. He said with help from private donations, the city can both repair while also building Roberts Park.

“I’ve gone out to the parks with the council members. We’ve identified some of the issues and I agree. That’s why we are trying to put in some things to make some fixes right away. But, we also need to look long term, that’s where a strategic plan comes into play and that would also allow the city to be back to be being eligible for state and federal funding and different grants,” says Schaefer.

Schaefer said the $1 million Roberts Park plan will also benefit Wesselman Park and Hartke Pool. The proposal reallocating more funds to maintenance was denied at the council meeting.

The main objective of the meeting was to vote on a complete streets initiative to make traveling through the city safer, but it was the debate over parks that dominated the evening.

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