RIPON PARKS AND Recreation Committee members voted 4-0 to recommend the Common Council approve a proposal to use Lloyd Mitchell estate monies to replace the one-story concession stand at the Murray Park ball diamonds with a two-level pavilion. 		         Tim Lyke photo
RIPON PARKS AND Recreation Committee members voted 4-0 to recommend the Common Council approve a proposal to use Lloyd Mitchell estate monies to replace the one-story concession stand at the Murray Park ball diamonds with a two-level pavilion. Tim Lyke photo

     It may become more difficult to find volunteers to serve on city committees if their recommendations are dismissed so cavalierly as one the Park & Recreation Committee gave last week to the Common Council.

     In January, the council unanimously charged Park & Rec with providing it a recommendation of how to spend an almost $484,000 grant the city had received from the estate of Lloyd Mitchell a month earlier.

     For the next seven months the all-volunteer Park & Rec folks entertained proposals and deliberated on how the money should be spent, within parameters the Mitchell estate had established.

     They listened to casual plans about a senior center, Boys & Girls Club, downtown streetscape, park shelters, cultural center and a concession building.

     As their Aug. 13 deadline drew near to give the council the fruits of their deliberation, Park & Rec committee members invited representatives of the groups vying for the money to make their last, best proposals.

     Two stepped forward on July 24: a larger Ripon Senior Activity Center, and a replacement Murray Park concession pavilion.
The committee entertained presentations from both groups, questioning each and then voting 4-0 to recommend the council spend the money to build a multi-use pavilion ...

     Make no mistake. The council wasn’t obligated to adopt that recommendation. Aldermen are  not elected and paid to be rubber stamps; rather, they must exercise independent judgement, ask lots of questions and ultimately act in the city’s best interests.

     Yet one would assume that, absent any killer concerns about the chosen project or its champions, they would have deferred to the people they previously had empowered to do their heavy lifting, particularly since that body’s recommendation was unanimous.

     Instead, the council approached the batter’s box and then ... swung and missed. ...
                      

— Tim Lyke

To read the entire editorial, see the Aug. 22, 2019 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.