Last week, the city received a letter from the county executive’s office asking us to take a look at how we’ve zoned our county parks. It asked us to make any changes necessary to ensure they are zoned appropriately to allow for their preservation as parks.
No problem, I thought. This is an easy one.
Parks should be zoned as parks. And we’ll make sure they are.
Then came the press releases. Like this one from the county board chairman, listing Grant Park and Rawson Park on some sort of “at-risk” list.
That helped drive media coverage like this and this, and then there was a hearing before the county board’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee on Friday.
Our response was the appropriate one. We have put the issue on Tuesday’s council agenda, with a plan to refer to the Plan Commission for recommendations on what, if any, rezoning is necessary. If we need to clean up zoning, we’ll make the changes.
The story should end there.
Of course, it hasn’t, and it won’t, not when politics are at play. And this whole effort stinks of politics.
Local municipalities should be kept out of county political battles. In this case, we’re being put in the middle of them.
To me, this whole exercise is crying wolf about something that is almost assuredly not going to happen. Grant Park is not for sale. I would not support it being for sale. And from what I know of the county executive and his administration, and from what the county executive has told me, he does not want to put it for sale.
But insinuating as much sure makes for a good press release, and scores some political points as the county executive election nears.
Please see through the scare tactics and the headlines.
We will stand up for our parks, minus the politics.