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City buys signs instead of kid-friendly activities

May 19, 2017 • Editorial

I see the last day of school will be on the 26th of this month. Then our children will be flooding the streets in search of fun activities to keep them occupied for the summer. However, the options are going to be limited due to some very poor leadership decisions concerning our city’s youngest citizens.
We hear the terms “proactive” and “reactive” all the time when it comes to successful management techniques, but as I consider the months ahead, it certainly appears that priorities in the hands of those who decide the future of Roswell can’t always be said to make sense. I think we all know where this is headed and, yes, I continue to feel city government has failed our community again and again.
What galls me, and I’m fairly certain there are others out there who see the situation as I do, is how the mayor and the City Council can arbitrarily decide what is best for our community, even if those decisions make little sense at all when it comes to supporting the greater good.
Let’s take for example how the City Council last year voted to create five steel signs to promote, of all things, more of an already established [auth] theme of UFOs for Roswell. Really, they allotted $600,000 to create more signs around Roswell to promote UFOs. Don’t we have green men just about everywhere you look, a UFO museum with a sign outside, which some could say, “is bigger than Dallas.” Then, we have the UFO saucer and pickup truck about 5 miles south of Roswell that promotes UFOs. I am flabbergasted that anyone would think we need more UFO exposure.
Six hundred thousand dollars! There, I’ve said it again. Why is it they could waste money this way in a lame scheme with no value, and yet scoff at the idea of keeping a swimming pool open, or fixing a center to keep our children occupied. The news constantly coming out of the City Council meetings would lead one to believe they are a group of people being fiscally conservative and not wasting money on a swimming pool, and yet they spend money on five big metal signs. My sister Regina has a word she likes to use when something happens that makes no sense at all and I believe it is, “Unbelieveable.”
Next order of business is that the Nancy Lopez golf course is still being managed by the old company because the new one has issues. I read where the city of Roswell lost $372,000 dollars the last two fiscal years because of how much Roswell pays toward maintenance. It was reportedly to the tune of $648,000 that was budgeted for this cost and yet the city only received $276,000 in revenue. This means we as taxpayers had to foot the bill for — wait for it — $372,000. Does any of this make sense?
We can’t pay for upkeep on the Yucca Center, and then when it gets damaged, the city can’t pay to fix it. Then, we can’t keep a pool open to give our kids a place to hang out, but we can sure spend a fortune on five metal signs that, according to Eric F. Garcia, owner and director of EFG Creative Designs, “The goal is to build iconic functional pieces of art that will be identifiers for tourists. It is meant to inspire people to take photos at all three signs.” It may be a nice photo opportunity for tourists, but what about our kids?
I do know there has been some work in creating “splash pads,” but after taking to my 12-year-old niece, Mia, who went to the one on East Second Street, I have my doubts as to their attraction. I asked her if she had fun and she looked at me with this sarcastic look on her face and said, “You just get wet.” I took that as a no, but if you were to ask her about the pool in Dexter, then she will tell you she is there as often as she can be. It’s a safe haven with more to do than just get wet.
I know the city has found a way to build the new center at the Cielo Grande complex, but again, only because citizens forced them to and not because there was this plan in place.
But for 2017, our children will now have to go to the Roswell Adult Center for this summer’s programs. It is a busy place and there are already a healthy community of seniors taking part in all of the activities, but I am left wondering how seniors and young children will mix well and if either of them will be happy. Again, I have to say, “Unbelievable.”
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Jose Mike Jimenez is a freelance writer and was an instructor at ENMU-R until his retirement. He can be reached at jmikejimenez@hotmail.com.

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