The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

June 21, 2013

Decisions should be made with input from stakeholders

ENID, Okla. — We’re pleased to hear the Enid Parks Board invite the Enid City Commission and city staff to join them in future public forums.

The board has recommended six parks to take a share of the money city leaders appropriated in a previous meeting. City commissioners already approved $750,000 to be spent on playground equipment.

Parks board member Molly Helm stressed that citizens have a chance for input on these recommendations before bids are accepted or equipment is ordered.

Residents feel like they don’t get input, Helm said. Another consideration is the contention in years past between the board and city planners.

“I think there’s a perception, and I don’t agree with it, but there’s a perception,” Helm said. “I’d hate to think that history’s going to be a stumbling block for us. Those of you who are in the know help us not to get hung up on it.”

Transparency is great, but decisions should be made with major input from stakeholders. We need conversation and listening, not lecturing. Otherwise, assumptions and resentment run rampant.

Putting politics aside, the failed parks election was more about funding and less about particular projects. Almost everyone in Enid desires better parks.

Park board member Mark Keefer is right: Everyone needs to get on the same page to bridge the gap.

“I think our goals are similar,” Keefer said. “It’s just there’s ego issues, there’s some bitterness of things that have happened in the past.”

We’re eager to hear further discussion with others interested in prioritizing maintenance and development of our parks.

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