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The Recreation Center - A Success - Of Sorts, but Still an Illegitimate Use of Taxpayer Dollars

Widespread Community Opposition to a Recreation Center is Forgotten as Club Members Enjoy the Perks

Since my thoughts about the upcoming meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee are too lengthy to fit in the comments space (surprise, surprise!), and since I am willing to reveal my identity in order to enjoy a Patch blog, I offer the following:

It was not a legitimate function of government to build a recreation center/palace and Boyce Mayview Park costing $27.7 million in a community of 20,000 (a cost of about $1350 per capita), a community in which thousands came together to express dissent before the project was rammed through by the Board of Commissioners with the exception of the fiscally-prudent Bob Orchowski.
 
One of the commissioners that voted for the project pledged at the time that it would be modeled after Peters Township’s facility, which cost $5 million. She then completely reversed course, voting for the $27.7 million package without explanation or apology. A current commissioner who was not in office at the time of the vote said to me as he courted my support for his campaign, “Wouldn’t it have been nice if the commissioners had asked the contractor, What can you build for us for $5 million…$10 million…$15 million…(rather than to go forward with a project of this magnitude)?” He was right. There was talk of placing a referendum on the ballot until the commissioners that wanted the center at all costs recognized that there was a good chance the project would be voted down if put before the public.

One of the strangest phenomena in this overtax and overspend affair is that many of the individuals that were strong fiscal conservatives on school board spending abandoned their fiscal prudence vis-a-vis the recreation center, advocating for the most lavish and expensive facility possible.

I will acknowledge that the recreation center has been as successful as anyone could have imagined in securing members and garnering operating revenue, but its construction cost was thrust upon every resident of the community, including those like me, who have never set foot inside it and have no intention of doing so.  I am sure the center is magnificent; there is no trick to that when $27.7 million dollars are expended. The construction of the center will continue to be a burden to the taxpayers, and is a primary driver of the municipal real estate tax having increased from 2.6 mills at the time I moved to the Township in 2002, to 4.6 mills today, a whopping 77% hike.

To those who believe that the recreation center was constructed in a fiscally-conservative community dominated by Republicans, how much more money could possibly have been spent to subsidize the private club dues in a liberal community dominated by Democrats?

Editor's Note: The Community and Recreation Center cost $16 million. The entire Boyce Mayview park cost was $27.7 million, according to township officials.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Duke January 27, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Upper St. Clair has a "Lazy River" at their Community & Recreation Center and Peters Township does not! Aren't the residents of Upper St. Clair lucky?

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