City officials debate how to spend the park’s $ 1 million budget

EVANSVILLE, Indiana (WEHT) – For many adults who can remember their childhood, playing with their friends in local parks was a staple pastime. Kelvon Johnson, of Evansville, wants his children to have the same opportunity.

“When I was a kid, we were always outside and having fun. These days people listen to music, at home, playing games, ”Johnson said.

Some children in the area said they did not want to play outside due to the current conditions in some parks.

“[My kids] love the park. There is not much to give them here. Just a few minutes to play on the slide and the swings and bring them home, ”Johnson added.

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke has been proposing the construction of Roberts Park since the start of his term. He proposed to devote $ 1 million from the Evansville 2022 budget to the project. Councilor Missy Mosby is offering to take the million dollars allocated to the Roberts Park project and use it to repair the existing parks in Evansville.

“I just think we need to take care of what we have and we need to start budgeting for repair and maintenance and make sure that the fleets that we have now are funded as they should be,” City Councilor Mosby said.

She pointed to vandalism in the playground and shelters, broken fences around baseball diamonds and sinking basketball goals at Vann-Pollack Park. Mosby also said a local construction project is using the land for storage.

Mosby added, “When you take the front part of the park and use it as a staging area, it doesn’t make this park look open.”

City Councilor Jonathan Weaver said Akin Park needs a lot of work. He said there was hardly any mulch in the playground, the grass needed to be cut and there was still some fallen tree debris to clean up. City Councilor Mosby says she might support the idea of ​​Roberts Park in the future, but the focus needs to be on what they can do now.

As for Kelvon Johnson, he has confidence in city officials.

“They will get there. With the right people, I feel like they’re going to come together and create these parks for the kids, ”he said.

Deputy Mayor and Acting Director of Evansville Park, Steve Schaefer, said: “As I shared with City Councilor Mosby last week at a meeting in Vann-Pollack Park, the city is currently conducting a assessment of the needs of our neighborhood parks. Until this evaluation is completed, the Administration considers it premature to make budgetary adjustments, which would delay or prevent the progress of other projects. We have a bold vision for Roberts Park which has received a lot of community feedback over the past few years and we plan to move forward.

Mosby said the budget amendments were to be tabled on Friday, October 1. She said those amendments would be discussed at the next city council meeting on October 11.

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