Fast Focus 'What can the Tri-Cities to do better reserve open spaces?' Public input essential

January 26, 2014 

Many of us are willing to pay for specific projects but balk at paying into a pot where some small group will decide how to spend the money -- perhaps with little or no public input.

Not long ago, a public facilities committee decided that an aquatics center took precedence over a performing arts center or other options. Those who could vote on the matter said no. County residents who would have had to pay such a tax if it had passed were not allowed to vote.

Many people who opposed the aquatics center may have based their decision in part on the fact that two separate private water parks were being planned for the Tri-Cities shortly before the big push was made for a publicly funded competitor.

Had the public facilities committee opted for the performing arts center instead of the water park, might we now have both a performing arts center and a private water park?

Benton County officials, or any other such body, need to think through their want list, then present very specific, well thought out proposals to the public before asking for tax money.

As for being hypocritical about hiking up Badger if one votes against this possible open spaces tax, (not that I, as a Franklin County resident, will be able to vote one way or the other) many of us personally paid $1,000 to help buy Badger and many of us have personally helped build the trails on the mountain. We've already paid for our right to hike there.

-- MARILYN YOUNG, Pasco

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