Six or seven years ago, I attended a meeting in Wellington that unveiled the new parks plan for our town. It was a beautiful set of plans (that cost $200K to create) and showed possible layouts for the Buffalo Creek Park and a wonderful bike trail system that would run through town and eventually, run all the way to Fort Collins. I couldn’t wait for them to get started! (Go check those plans out at the Town of Wellington website!)
Well, a couple years later, the town managers did start working on the plans, but not in a way that has proved the most useful. Instead of starting with playground or trees, we got a batting cage that seems to be sadly underused. If they had taken that $150,000 and applied it to trees and a playground instead of a facility that rarely has more than three cars parked at it and is closed all winter, we could have had a facility that gets used all year long and trees that now have about five years growth.
For now, we have a decent if unintentional sledding hill, a dirt track for bikes and a mosquito pond. That’s OK though, we trusted that the rest would be built soon.
We apparently have misplaced that trust.
We have now been informed that the park has been pushed back 5 to 10 years because our elected officials bought some land that they want to build a new town hall on with Wellington park money. There is supposed to also be a rec center and some football fields, so it wasn’t entirely raiding the Parks and Rec fund, but it still feels like we are being cheated a bit.
After some citizen complaints, the town officials are now offering Wellington citizens a small playground and some grass and all the rest will still have to wait for nearly a decade.
If they can’t keep their original promise to the citizens of Wellington, why on earth should we be even a little excited about their current project?
Would I love a new rec center with a swimming pool? Sure! Is our current Town Hall pretty outdated? Yep. Could the Boys and Girls Club stand some improvements. No doubt. Will our elected officials ever deliver? Their past record is looking pretty dismal! And how sustainable are these plans? Are they too far reaching for our current needs, kind of like that lonely batting cage?
Even if they do make good on this new project, do I think they will ever get back to the original plan? I guess that depends how the next set of elections go and I can make a good guess how the residents in the neighborhoods nearest to the empty park will be voting.
Town of Wellington Town Board: Make good on the original plans before running off to do something new. With careful management and continued work on getting in more revenue, you can still have your pretty new town hall. Just complete your promises first and give this town “The Jewel of the Wellington Park System” first, like you originally planned.
The Buffalo Creek Park and bike trail system was a great idea then and it is great idea now!