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Opinion Letters County park approved without community input

At a recent Macon County Commission meeting, Commissioners unanimously approved purchasing the old Parker Meadows golf course for a county park. Plans for this park include eight ball fields, four of which will be located directly across the street from Parker Farm Estates. Baseball and softball games, including 24 team tournaments mentioned at the meeting, are not exactly quiet activities. The noise from the fans, coaches, and players, as well as the constant “daylight” provided by lights that will inevitably be installed, will negatively impact all of the residents of the nice, quiet neighborhoods that border this property.

I had heard for months that negotiations were underway to sell the property, previously being developed as a 160 unit RV park, to an undisclosed buyer. The person who told me about these negotiations, evidently the only resident of the three area subdivisions “in the know,” told me he was not authorized to disclose the plans for this property until an agreement was reached.

Imagine my surprise when I read that the commission meeting room, when the purchase was unanimously approved, was filled with ball coaches in support of the purchase and plans.

Obviously, no commissioner or other county employee was concerned about the quality of life of the residents in the area surrounding the property. If they had been, residents would have been notified and encouraged to provide their input.

County commissioners, as well as other county employees such as the head of parks and recreation, appear to go to great lengths to orchestrate public input and support that will further their agendas. Negotiations are undertaken without public knowledge or input, and government websites do not even include email addresses for commissioners or department heads. These actions result not only in uninformed citizens but also in no written record of concerns expressed by the public, other than of those who are personally invited to speak at commission meetings in support of specific items.

Quality of life issues are important to all members of the community, young and old alike. By purchasing property for ball fields in areas such as the industrial park that are not surrounded by residential areas with few if any children, government officials can better meet the needs of all of the county’s citizens.

Tom Walker
Parker Farm Estates Homeowner

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