Editor:

The Florence City Council approved $70,000 for a consultant to assist in developing a master plan for McFarland Park at their September 7, 2021 meeting. Based on a TimesDaily article on September 15, it appears the Mayor and Council already have a real good idea as to what they want for the Park.  Our Mayor has at the top of his list to improve the campground.  Other improvements noted in the TimesDaily article are expansion of the RV area; work on the camping area and riverfront areas; road expansions;  an archery center, redevelopment of the driving range; renovating the disc course; a river walk and river front lawn areas.  The consultant’s work has been done!

By approving this expenditure, the Council has taken a different approach than the prior Council.  When the 32 court tennis complex was voted down, a consultant was not hired to determine how to use the $2 million.  Mayor Holt did have a meeting for citizens to make recommendations.  The prior Council ignored these recommendations. The prior Council voted to allow the funds to be used for remodeling the Convention Center. Why not follow Holt’s call for citizen input?  Another concern: Is McFarland Park no longer in a flood zone?  

Council rules need to be changed to state that all items over $50,000 will be placed on the Regular Agenda which allows for discussion among the Council.  With the many projects that have come before the Council and will come, we must use the talents within our city to save money.

Bill Smoak

Florence