Here's what your neighbors are talking about.
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Slow down on costly tennis center upgrades
I am glad the city of Palm Coast is using citizen surveys to gauge the community. Unfortunately, the most recent survey exposed several flaws in the non-scientific survey.
For instance, although 2,970 people did complete the survey, an alarming 7,060 people started but didn’t complete the long 40-question exercise. Keep in mind that over 80,000 people didn’t even look at the survey.
Additionally, at a recent City Council meeting, Councilman Ed Danko pointed out that the answers were predetermined, with no way to present an alternate response. Councilman Danko also pointed out that if a question was left blank, the survey couldn’t be submitted. The predetermined answers and the inability to skip a question skewed the results and reduced the survey to a relatively useless tool.
However, the city is using these skewed answers to justify its position on various subjects. One such subject is the expansion of the Palm Coast Tennis Center to include, among other things, six pickle ball courts, a two-story clubhouse with a balcony to overlook a proposed stadium and some added concession stands. A nice idea but costly and bad timing.
The city presented the number of users of the facility as a justification for the project. But, the count for the number of people using the current tennis facilities at the Palm Coast Tennis Center is also skewed. The reported 14,293 annual users doesn’t mention that this number includes repeat users. In fact, if we take the 14,293 number of users presented and divide it by 365 (number of days a in a year), we get an average of 39 people using the facility per day.
Is this small number of users worth the phase 1 suggested facility upgrade amount of almost $6 million during this pandemic-induced unstable economy? This enormous price tag doesn’t include the planned phase 2 costs that have not yet been made public.
Equally important is the fact that for this expansion project the city doesn’t have a certified financial plan, a break even point identified, a calculated return on investment, nor the cost of ongoing maintenance. It appears to be a form of "build it, cross your fingers and hope it works" idealism. That is fine if it is someone’s personal investment funds, but a big chunk of this project is from taxes and fees collected from residents and businesses.
For a comparison, Flagler Beach has been presented with a pickle ball court idea with a comparatively paltry cost of $93,327. A wish list is great, but let’s start small.
Editor's Note: Alan Lowe is a candidate for Palm Coast City Council District 2.
Share your WastePro experiences before contract is renewed
During the past year, I have experienced truly bad service from WastePro.
Today was the last straw. Half of my household trash was left on the street. The workers saw it and simply drove off. When I called the city, I was told that it isn't in their contract to pick up anything that falls out of the bin. I was further informed that all trash must be placed in plastic bags and then placed in the trash container. Aside from the fact that I had never been informed of that rule (I wonder how many residents know this), it does explain why every trash day the neighborhood is strewn with trash.
Among the many other incidents this year: no pickup on a scheduled day, ignoring my neighbor's garden trash for weeks, skipping my recycling.
As the WastePro contract is being renegotiated, I urge everyone who has experienced similar problems to let the city know. Fill out the survey (shorturl.at/blFGN) or call 386-986-2360.
We want to see wildlife habitat, not people and cars
A few weeks ago we read the results of a survey asking what people value most about living in Palm Coast. They said the environment and wildlife. Well, the way the city is allowing others to build 210 homes here, 245 homes there, a gated community here and now plenty of pickle ball courts, they are destroying the wildlife habitat — no to mention the traffic.
What a shame this is! When we moved here 20 years ago, we did it for the serenity of the place and the wildlife around us. We used to see deer going down our street; now, what we see are “people” and “cars” — all what we don’t want to see. They are not protecting the wildlife habitat whatsoever, and in few years it will look like a little Orlando!
Editor's Note: See the City Council's discussion on this issue here: shorturl.at/biC01.