Delta Resident Questions Community Park Survey

The Village of Delta recently sent out a survey questionnaire regarding the Delta Community Park asking for input on the pool (replace, fix or eliminate), sports fields (soccer, baseball and softball) and other various amenities (tennis/pickleball courts and others).  In response to the survey, Delta resident and former Pike-Delta-York Schools Superintendent, Jay LeFevre, sent an e-mail to members of the Village Council, Mayor Frank Wilton and Administrator Brad Peebles with concerns about the content of the survey and the park itself. Below are excerpts from Mr. LeFevre’s correspondence:

My main reason for reaching out is regarding the park survey.  I found the survey to be very minimal, narrow and limited in scope.  Half of the survey is about the pool, with no supporting data for the high costs of the two “options,” and with nothing at all about many other aspects of the park.  Other than the narrow pool “question,” the survey only asks about athletic fields and courts, with no mention of shelter houses, playground equipment, trees/beautification, etc.

Many trees have been removed, for good cause I am told (maintenance, structures, etc.), but I am concerned that it appears we only remove trees (in the park and in the village).  I am not aware of any efforts or plans to add trees where deemed appropriate for shade and/or other attempts to maintain and improve the “beautification” of the parks.  Do we have any long term “tree program” to help both with ease of park maintenance and the beauty of the park?  If not, perhaps we need to bring back the park committee, tree board, and other committees that used to facilitate these processes.

I worry that we are at risk of a lack of consistency and efficacy as council, mayor and administrators change over the years.  While more time consuming, committees certainly provide more in-depth research, better awareness for council members, and more thorough decision making. They are common to effective councils, school boards, and other governing bodies. 

Not mentioned in the survey, we also have shelter houses, play grounds, restrooms, concession stands, sidewalks/paths, rules (like no alcohol in the park), for which council should be seeking input.   A valid survey would include all aspects of the park and then is most helpful if followed up with a more focused survey based on the initial feedback. A well formulated survey does take extra effort, but it certainly provides better guidance that one with few questions and vague references. If council is genuinely working to create a long term, meaningful plan, I suggest seeking much more information and input that this limited survey will provide.

Regarding the pool, the projected costs for a new pool or repair, the two “options” presented, seem exorbitant.  Both options seem high to me and without any supporting information.  And there is not mention of current millage and how it impacts these options.  I would like have a copy of the estimates for repairs with projected costs.  (I assume there are multiple estimates and would like to see what exactly the problem is and the associated costs.)  While I’ve never been a regular pool user, I am aware that many similar size and smaller towns have local pools and manage the costs, so I’m skeptical to be told we in Delta cannot manage the same.  I’m proud that we have a pool, and have always been glad to support it with tax dollars.  But I find it difficult to understand how we’ve managed for all these years, and suddenly we need 6.5 mills for twenty years.  I assume council, the mayor, or the administrator have “compared notes” with other villages and towns to see how they are functioning in regards to a community pool.  I would be interested to see that data.

And in the mindset of not just “complaining” but more-so about helping positively, I would be happy to join an informal group of community members to assist in this process if council found value in creating some sort of advisory committee. 

The mayor and council are there to fully represent the best interests of the community, and well-developed surveys, along with committees (council and citizen advisory) are critical in that process, as I see it.

To be clear, I appreciate the idea of the survey. I am not intending to overlook any efforts to improve the overall park and the village, and I realize things are getting done and you all are taking things on with the intent to better this community.  I genuinely appreciate the public service of members of council.  Perhaps some of my questions can be answered simply by meeting with the mayor?  I look forward getting copies of documents as requested above pertaining the pool, and to being better informed about the questions and concerns I’ve raised.

At the Monday , August 1st, Council meeting, Mr. LeFevre, who was in attendance, was asked by Mayor Wilton if he would like to address the Council regarding his email.  Mr. LeFevre declined.  The Mayor then addressed the email and told Mr. LeFevre that a response was in progress.

“I just wanted to bring that up so you’re aware of it,” said Mr. Wilton.  “There are more questions than what was in the survey and we’re looking at several different things.  We don’t want to just throw it together.  You’re addressing some of the questions that we’re addressing also.  We will put together a committee and actually have a meeting in the future about the park and everything that goes on with that.  There is more coming out on that than what was in the survey.  We just wanted to get an idea on that.”

There was no further discussion on the email, but Mr. Peebles reported that the Village had received 108 responses from the 1,350 surveys delivered to the post office by the July 29th deadline.  “We’ll start to tabulate those and Council will hopefully see a report as to the findings at the next meeting,” said the Administrator.

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