The cure is worse than the disease

weatherford squareFrom the Weatherford Democrat, by Wm Picou, 10/21/14

The Weatherford City Council, having determined the solution to a drainage problem in the yard is to turn the entire neighbourhood into a swamp, is now urging the citizens of Weatherford to adopt their proposed solution to the courthouse square.

Even a cursory reading of the Weatherford Downtown Plan makes it clear that little to none of what its proponents claim will materialize but will certainly fail to do so at great expense and years of inconvenience.  This plan – poorly received when originally presented nearly a decade ago – will make driving around the square even more of a problem as well as making the streets in the vicinity equally difficult to navigate.  The damage to neighborhoods in the area, both those directly in the path of this “plan” and those adjacent to it, is incalculable but certain to be real, lasting and largely irreparable.

Previous “improvements” to the square – sold to the public with promises disturbingly similar to those now being made – gave us the current situation. The Weatherford Downtown Plan does not do one thing to address the ludicrous traffic configuration on the courthouse square but instead keeps it as a permanent feature. To call this an “improvement” is to render the word meaningless.

None of this is to say that the traffic situation on the square can’t be improved. This plan, however, is not the way to go about it.

The City of Weatherford has increased tax rates. Parker County has increased tax rates. The Municipal Utility Board has increased utility rates. On top of these increases we are being asked, in the interest of an unwise exercise that will benefit few, if any, to further add to the burden of taxes. In an uncertain economy it shows a distinct lack of prudence to assume debt unnecessarily. That the Weatherford City Council is urging the citizens of Weatherford to do so speaks, even in the best light, poorly of the council and their judgment.

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4 responses

  1. Rilley and the city of Weatherford have already spent $15 Million PLUS on the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway (the highway to nowhere) which was supposed to divert heavy, large truck traffic away from the courthouse square, which it doesn’t. A much simpler, cheaper way to alleviate the problem would be to enact a city ordinance banning large, heavy, truck and commercial vehicles from the streets circling the courthouse. Then they would have to use the RWMH as was intended.

    If this was a bond issue for the City of Weatherford, I wouldn’t give a damn, but every taxpayer in Parker County will get to foot the bill for this boondoggle, and I can’t even get a final bond cost.

    No one but Freese & Nichols and their favorite subcontractors will profit from this, and the local engineering companies and road builders will not see a penny from it.

    I don’t know about you, but my wife and I will be in attendance at the Nov. 4th meeting and will ask some hard questions, and voice our opposition.

  2. I have looked at the Weatherford Bond Website and what I see is to me more a dream than reality. All Weatherford citizens would love to avoid some of the traffic tie-ups we experience but we do have some questions. Is the money being spent to improve traffic flow, enhance the esthetic appeal of the downtown area, provide more parking spaces, and/or help mask the decrepit buildings surrounding the downtown area?
    Will those property owners who have not yet done anything to improve the appearance of their structures be motivated to do so? Will proper trash collection areas be provided so the expected influx of pedestrians will not have to dodge around trash on the sidewalks as they do now? Will the lawyers who as a group occupy a very large portion of the immediate downtown space be motivated to move away from the square because of improved traffic flow and parking, and allow retail businesses reoccupy the spaces? Will the increased angle parking on all of the main streets reduce the through traffic to one lane in either direction? If so will this make the streets at rush hour look like Walmart parking lot traffic flow which is totally blocked at times by people parking and un-parking their autos. If so would it not be worse than the present situation? What will the traffic situation be like during the many months it will take to realize the proposal? Will the city wish to install parking meters on all of the newly created parking spaces?

    In short my questions can be simplified to the following:
    How will the proposed changes actually improve the functioning of the city center commensurate with the high project cost while not introducing any unintended consequences?

    Perhaps these points have all been answered in a positive manner and I am unaware of that fact. All I know is the answers are obscure to me and I don’t feel comfortable saying yes to a high cost project about which so little seems to be known.

  3. Senator_Blutarsky | Reply

    This and similar “projects” are nothing more than “socialism for the wealthy”.

    Make the PUBLIC pay the debt, while a handful of select individuals and companies actually reap any benefit.

    Perish the thought that an individual business owner wanting to increase business might have to spend funds to make his/her place more attractive, more convenient, more employees, better hours etc ad infinitum.

    Or move to a facility and location better suited to profitability. But instead of being innovative and resourceful, just foist a boondoggle on the public so THEY bear the expense!

    Privatize the profits, but dump the debt on the public. It is a con game and a sucker play

  4. I think that if we don’t watch it….they’ll be building Sundance Square downtown. Government only solves problems that don’t exist.

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