Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Above is a picture of Festival Park that I took in the fall. As you can see, it's already a park; the waterfront is landscaped; there's a generous lawn; trees have been planted. I think this is a serviceable park. What are we going to get by adding $5,000,000 in "improvements?" A water fountain and a restroom? For five million dollars? How many times is that restroom going to be used? And imagine the cost of keeping it safe and clean; they'll probably add someone to Park's payroll just for that purpose.

The point I'm making is that we're putting in $5,000,000 and we're getting a marginal improvement--in my opinion not an improvement at all, but probably to most people, a marginal improvement. Five million dollars is a lot of money. Imagine what we could have done with $5,000,000. We could have bought a couple Henry Moores or Chillidas or commissioned an Anish Kapoor sculpture; we could have turned downtown Elgin into a sculpture garden. We could have converted the High Line. We could have found the first home for the Elgin Art Museum. We could have paid architecture fees for Gail Borden, and gotten something the world would have noticed. There are a lot of things we could have done. You think of six; fill in the blanks:

1- We could have ______________________ with $5,000,000!
2- We could have ______________________ with $5,000,000!
3- We could have ______________________ with $5,000,000!
4- We could have ______________________ with $5,000,000!
5- We could have ______________________ with $5,000,000!
6- We could have ______________________ with $5,000,000!

But instead of any of these things, we got a latrine, a fountain, and the promise of "a circus-like atmosphere." Time to make like Howard Beale, stick your head out the window and yell, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!!"


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