I attended the mayor's meeting held on June 26th regarding the proposed senior center to be built on Ward Park.? I did not speak at the meeting in part because others said what I was thinking and because I wanted to process what I heard and saw during the meeting.? Here are my thoughts after the meeting.
First and foremost, the group of Marlboro residents with the greatest stake in this proposal, the children, were not invited to this meeting.? I did not see anyone under 21 at his meeting.? This is indicative of the mayor's lack of communication with the neighbors of Ward Park and the residents of Marlboro.? Young people use this park every day to play soccer, basketball and hang out with their friends.? Who from the city has spoken to these kids about how this building will affect them?
Secondly, neighbors of Ward Park have been ignored these past six months after the proposed site was announced in the newspaper.? Up to this point, the mayor has brushed off opposition and concerns about the building, only wishing to have discussions regarding the project moving forward.? Now he invites neighbors to discuss the proposal at a meeting which was preceded by a dinner for the seniors and held at the senior center. ?This was not a subtle political effort by the mayor to stack the deck in his favor.
Lastly, the proposal for a municipal building at the park was tied directly to improvements to the park itself.? The park has been neglected by the city for decades.? Now that the city wants the land for a municipal building, they are ready to make improvements. In other words, the city will only make improvements if it can use the land for its purposes.
Even though the mayor tried to make sure there were many supporters of the senior center at this meeting, more than half of the people who spoke at this meeting were opposed to its site.? Neighbors worried about losing green space which was specifically dedicated to the youth of Marlboro and about parking issues.? Others worried about the excessive cost of preparing the land and drainage issues.? Some argued about the legality of taking park land for a municipal building. What I want to know is why does the mayor continue to ignore these problems associated with the Ward Park site?? Why doesn's the mayor do the right thing and communicate with all the residents in the city?