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Granite Shoals waiting on report before considering sale of city parks

Lake View Park in Granite Shoals

The Granite Shoals City Council is discussing whether it can or even should sell some of its city parks, which include Lake View Park in the 2800 block of Lakeview Lane. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The question of whether to sell certain parks and use the money to upgrade others came before the Granite Shoals City Council at its regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 9, five days after the topic sparked a debate at a city Parks Advisory Committee meeting

The issue was put on hold until Granite Shoals City Attorney Joshua Katz reviews documents regarding the city’s parks system and issues a report on what city leaders can and cannot do when it comes to selling parks. 

“I’ll put together an analysis for you and the public as well,” Katz told the council. “(It will include) whether or not the city has or would have the authority to sell the parklands and the procedure. We’ll make it available for anyone who wants a copy.”

A list of which parks city staff are considering for sale was given to the Parks Advisory Committee, according to Assistant City Manager Peggy Smith, who also serves as the city’s parks director. She also noted that a parks fund created to address the needs of the parks system has no money in it.

City Manager Jeff Looney called the parks issue a hot topic.

“During budget time, you challenged us to get a list of properties for sale and do an assessment of the parks,” he told the council. “Everyone, step back and look at it to see what we want to do. One option might be selling the parks.”

He added that misinformation was causing a problem and urged the council and the public to wait until Katz issued his report, which would put several options on the table.

Looney later reiterated the directive council gave staff when asked for clarification by DailyTrib.com.

“Mrs. Smith has a list of parks that includes the utilization of the parks and what needs to be done,” he said. “Some are listed as the potential for selling. No one said we’re going to sell any of them.”

He stressed the importance of public input before making decisions. 

“What is the best thing to do?” he asked hypothetically. “To concentrate the money you have to put amenities into the parks that are utilized the most? Or, do we spread the money and have mediocre parks?”

jfierro@thepicayune.com