I was wrong! It’s happened before, it will happen again. For the past six years, I have predicted that the total cost of the City’s west-side recreational Taj Mahal — aka Hargett Farm — would be $100 million. Last week, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen seemed to embrace a $98.5 million development plan coupled with a net annual operating loss of more than $ 500,000.
Missing from the calculations were the land costs of $18 million (plus interest), cost of the parcel given to the BoE for a school site, lost water and sewer taps fees and lost property taxes.
The elected officials said they would continue to look for private and governmental partners. We know the YMCA is building a much-needed facility in the southern part of the County. We know the County government is very tight on funds — if they see a bit of available money, I hope they try to stem the tide of losing teachers to bigger bucks in neighboring counties. Private investors may see this as a good deal, but the SportsPlex may have the market cornered. The other limiting factor is the stated projected loss of more than $ 500,000 a year. That’s a hard one for businesses to swallow.
Now I read that the Board of Education is concerned that the proposed park development raises concerns about children’s safety and traffic at the school site.
City officials are bending over backwards to add to the high quality of life we enjoy in Frederick. Having a top-notch facility is a nice idea. The problem seems to be they forget we have to pay for it…and I am sure about that!