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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Public fields meant to be used
The public South Whidbey Parks & Rec District playing fields must be as fully utilized as the public wishes them to be.
There is risk if the fields are lumpy, bumpy, frozen or full of holes, but most of us grew up using sports fields in far worse condition than what we have today. While “the good old days” is no excuse for not maintaining the playing fields, perhaps the field maintenance bar doesn’t need to be set so high.
Keeping the public off the fields seems to oppose the purpose of having the fields in public ownership. Let the sports fields be sports fields, lumps and bumps included. Determine what the actual standard of athletic sports fields for insurance purposes needs to be, and use that standard, not higher.
It’s a compliment to the good job that the parks district is doing that the fields look great, and also that the public wants more access to our fields. I think the fact that we have such a large demand for the use of the public fields is fantastic, and I hope it means we are providing youth and adults the services they want and need, to want to continue to live here or to move here (and fill some of our vacant houses).
A recent news article quoted a comment saying the district staff’s paramount duty was to be “responsible stewards of the district’s assets.” I do not agree. The staff and directors’ paramount duty is to provide the public services/facilities that the public wants. This is why the South Whidbey Parks & Rec District was created. Caring for the district’s assets is just one part of those duties.
Within the primary/paramount duty to provide the public services/facilities that the public wants also comes the responsibility to maintain the assets, stay within the budget, properly account for the financials of the district, discuss and plan for potential issues, weak links, projected new projects and programs and/or other long-range ideas and issues.