Hogan Park Project sparking controversy yet again between city councilmembers
MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - The Hogan Park Project is sparking controversy yet again after one Midland city councilman went after another in an article online about comments made at Tuesday’s meeting.
One of the biggest controversies about the Hogan Park Project has been, how much of the renovations would be paid for by public private partnerships and how much would be paid for by the Midland taxpayer.
The Hogan Park Project is being thrown back into the spotlight after the Midland city council voted Tuesday 4 - 2 against an agreement with the Permian Quality of Place Conservancy.
After the meeting Councilman Scott Dufford spoke to the Midland Reporter Telegram making comments on what Councilman At Large Dan Corrales said in the meeting.
Corrales says what he said in the meeting was not about oil and gas, the philanthropic community or even the donors to the conservancy.
“I have an affinity for oil and gas because it provides the opportunity for the american dream in Midland to work hard and make a living and to see the company that you work for do so much good in your community,” said Corrales.
What the vote and continued controversy comes down to seems to be what Corrales claims is a lack of transparency between the conservancy and the city.
“With whatever basic package they were suggesting what’s the cost of that going to be and I would encourage the conservancy to share that cost with the public, we designated them as our agent to work with a designer Brett Luck to come up with how can this design be drafted and what the cost would be but we still don’t have those numbers today,” said Corrales.
The President of the Quality of Place Board Jeff Beard says the contract was being executed normally despite allegations of last minute changes and he says they were transparent.
“We had multiple opportunities for people to ask questions, talk to us,” said Beard.
Corrales says the conservancy initially said they would do the project in one swoop for a total of $55 million. Then at the last minute changed those plans after pressuring the council to vote on the project, however Beard says that number and those plans had virtually stayed the same.
“We had raised 28.5 million private dollars to go towards this park and as soon as we got this contract signed we had people ready to sign up for additional dollars or to sign up for new dollars to get to that 55 million total,” said Beard.
Corrales says the bottom line is the price was too much for tax payers to bear, especially since the public was not informed of changes to the contract.
“Transparency has to mean we’re gonna have a town hall let the public know okay 2 million dollars a year well I don’t think the public knew that if the park only spent half a million, a million and a half doesn’t go back to the taxpayers it goes to a special fund for the conservancy to use later,” said Corrales.
Beard says the conservancy is now working with donors to redirect their money, but he says the project could have been effective if the agreement passed.
“It was an effective way to get a large project done not on the taxpayer dime for the improvements,” said Beard.
Dufford was unavailable for comment, the Hogan Park renovations will now be completed in-house and as for the conservancy Beard says they will work to put together plans to improve Midland and the Permian Basin.
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