By Brandon Dumsky
Disappointment and shock were some of the reactions from Blue Springs officials at the special election watch party at Clancy’s Bar and Grill Tuesday night.
“The voters have spoken, and the only thing we can do is go forward,” said Parks and Recreation Director Dennis Dovel.
The issue on Tuesday’s ballot was a half-cent sales tax increase that would provide an annual $3 million in additional revenue for park maintenance and development plus a 30,000 square-foot community center. The vote was 4,089 no (54.76 percent) to 3,378 yes (45.24 percent).
“We totally respect the voters’ decision,” said Todd Pelham, deputy city administrator. “But obviously we’re disappointed.”
Asked whether more emphasis was placed on the new community center component of the question rather than park maintenance, both Dovel and Pelham said a lot of community feedback was in support for the construction of the center.
“It appeals to everybody,” Dovel says. “Many expressed a desire to have it and were in favor of having one.”
Pelham said the city will do its best to find resources to maintain its parks. “We will need to regroup and seek assistance from City Council,” he said.
“It will be a tough decision,” Dovel said regarding how Blue Springs will find the funding for the $15 million needed in deferred maintanence. “Safety needs will need to be met (for the parks).”
“We will pursue public-private partnerships for the needed funding and possibly seek grants,” said Pelham.
Both officials thanked and appreciated the efforts of Citizens for Parks campaign for their volunteering and support of the question.