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The Lubbock City Council this week approved the use of $173,800 to be used to design a proposed Downtown Civic Park. If the plan is approved, the park would be located at 1302 Broadway Avenue which is the old Lubbock Power and Light building.

According to KFYO News, it will cost at least $1 million dollars to tear down the Lubbock Power and Light building along with the parking garage.

City officials want the park to include a 2,000-3,000 square foot park pavilion building with restrooms, a café or warming kitchen, and it should be able to support performances. The park design should also include trees, lights, furnishings, and an interactive water feature.

How much will all of this cost? No idea yet, but a previous report put the cost at around $5-$7 million dollars. Maybe it's just me, but that seems like a lot of money to spend on something that isn't really needed right now.

The Lubbock City Council seems to be blinded by their own passion for Downtown Lubbock. They don't see or maybe they just choose to ignore how out of touch they come across.

All across Lubbock, business owners are having to tighten their belts or worry if they can open the next day. Homeowners are cutting spending as they worry about their future. We are still in the middle of a pandemic that has not only cost lives, but hurt the local economy and could lead to more businesses having to close. Homeowners are worried about paying bills, and business owners are worried about making it.

And the Lubbock City Council wants to spend taxpayer money on a park.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-park, I just question the timing and the location. When citizens were first told about Citizen's Tower, we were told buildings like LP&L's would be sold and put back on the tax roll. Now, I'm not in real estate, but it seems to me that the location of 13th and Broadway is a prime, lucrative location. Instead of taxpayers having to pay to tear the building down, why not sell it? Think about all you could do with the money you made and saved. The City of Lubbock could hire more police officers to deal with rising crime. The City of Lubbock could start a new grant or loan program for local businesses hardest hit by the pandemic and the decisions made by politicians to shut down or reduce those businesses.

Let's also be honest about the location. It's Downtown Lubbock. And while the area has seen new restaurants and hotels go up, we've also seen the homeless population gather in Downtown Lubbock as well. How long before the new park becomes a new overnight home for the homeless?

The fact is, we don't need a park right now in Downtown Lubbock. Not when we have streets that need to be fixed. Not when we still have neighborhoods within city limits that are dealing with unpaved streets. Not when we are in a pandemic and businesses need help. Not when we have Mackenzie Park less than two miles away. Not when we have the Canyon Lakes just sitting there. You want to talk about an area to develop with cafes and restaurants? Let's look at a portion of the Canyon Lakes system.

KAMC's Bryan Mudd recently reported on Twitter that Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope was one of 50 Texas Mayors pleading for additional pandemic funding. If Lubbock needs more federal funds, why on earth are we spending money on a park?

By the way, this park is one of six recommended by the Downtown Master Plan. A park in Downtown Lubbock may make sense at some point. But now? Sorry council members, there are other more important things to worry about.

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