When is a park not just a park? Answer: When it is an economic engine. Riverfront Park – 40 square blocks – hosts at least 21 major events yearly, a half dozen smaller events, and has been the site of choice for functions for nearly 50 organizations located throughout the region. Eighteen fun runs start at the park. There is tremendous usage year-round.
This intense activity in the heart of the city generates commercial activity that produces sales tax revenue, which boosts the city’s general fund, and so brings more services to our neighborhoods. We will not pay a higher tax than we are paying now, but can boost the productivity of the park by upgrading weary and inadequate infrastructure.
I applaud the city for proposing to restructure existing debt to get us more bang for the buck. To bring a 1970s-era park and activity center up to 21st century standards and, separately, to upgrade more streets with no additional tax, I will vote yes.