An ongoing debate about whether to finance improvements to Prairie Village’s parks in the 2012 budget prompted a pointed email Wednesday from former Councilman Wayne Vennard, who categorized Councilwoman and Parks Committee Chair Diana Ewy Sharp’s support for parks as excessive amid a grim economic environment.
Over the course of the past month, the council has been debating whether to use $400,000 from the city’s economic development fund to finance parks improvements suggested in the city’s Parks Master Plan.
Vennard sent an email to Mayor Ron Shaffer and the City Council supporting “those council members who have taken a realistic view towards the PV budgeting process and have chosen to remove excessive and unrealistic park funding from the 2012 city budget.”:
This action reflects a full understanding of the grim economic environment that you and all citizens of Prairie Village must now cope with. Tax receipts are down, property values are declining and many PV citizens are suffering. It is time for the city leaders to tighten their fiscal belts and cut back on spending wherever possible…
Ms. Sharp has seldom seen a park proposal that she could possibly oppose and refers to the Village Vision in constant support of profligate city spending. City leaders really have to stop referring to the Village Vision as if it were a revealed communication from God equal to the Old and New Testaments or the Book of Mormon.
The message provoked a response from Ewy Sharp, who said residents are turning to the city’s parks now more than ever for recreation:
…The downturn of the past few years has many people not taking traditional vacations. Residents have shared with me that they are turning to our parks, our pool, and our tennis courts for their recreation.
Yes, I am a park advocate. It’s one of the reasons my family moved to Prairie Village back in 1986, something I hear time and time again…Our parks are our assets too and knowing such they must continue to be funded. As the longtime Parks Chairperson, I feel responsible to our residents that our parks are well maintained, and enhanced…No funding for the Parks Master Plan for the next five years does concern me, and I am not certain residents are aware that funding for any future projects have come to a halt.
The city will hold a public hearing on the 2012 budget Aug. 1.