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YMCA-TUHEY PARK PLAN

 

While the League supports the YMCA and its mission, applauds its efforts to soundly marshall its resources and plan for the future, and recognizes its long-standing important role in the community, we oppose the city leasing Tuhey Park to the YMCA for development Once covered with asphalt and the footprint of a large building, the green space would not easily be recoverable if/when the lease ends.

 

We base our opposition on longstanding positions of the League of Women Voters of the United States[1] as well as the Muncie Vision 2021 Plan.[2]  

 

In its 100-year history, the League of Women Voters of the United States has demonstrated its belief that responsible citizens should educate themselves and participate in public decision-making.  We believe that responsible government should be responsive to the will of the people and ensure transparency, accountability, positive community impact and preservation of the common good when considering the transfer of governmental services, assets and/or functions to the private sector.  

 

The League supports comprehensive long-range planning and believes that wise decision-making requires, among other things:

  • adequate data and a framework within which alternatives may be weighed and intelligent decisions made;
  • consideration of environmental, public- health, social and economic impacts of proposed plans and actions;
  • special responsibility by each level of government for those lands and resources entrusted to them;
  • special attention to maintaining and improving the environmental quality of urban communities.

 

The Tuhey Park plan would reduce public green space, bring considerably more traffic and pollution, trade grass for asphalt for the 302 parking spaces, and reduce the opportunity for developing public access park amenities--some of which used to be there and were actively used (especially the baseball diamond).

 

The Vision 2021 Plan developed with considerable community input has as its first two goals Enrich Quality of Life and Enrich Quality of Place.  Muncie parks, including neighborhood parks, were cited as assets of this community that contribute to quality of place. As we increase trails and encourage more residents to walk or bike and participate in wellness activities (to which the YMCA contributes), we should not be reducing the options but, if possible, increasing them. Tuhey Park is easily accessible from downtown and the White River Greenway and a short stint from the Cardinal Greenway. But it is also a neighborhood park--and used by neighborhood residents. 

 

Consolidating and locating a new YMCA is also a social justice issue.  As Mayor Ridenour noted, “To meet its mission the YMCA should be in the center of the city for easy access to all 14 bus routes.” Tuhey Park is not downtown (as mapmaker Andy Shears has observed.)  We would add that accessibility to all neighborhoods and community members who currently enjoy the benefits of the YMCA facilities should be considered. Essentially replacing a free-access public park with a fee-access private entity, despite the token relocated playground, would serve the interests of a few at the expense of the common good.   One site rendition shown in the YMCA project announcement on Nov. 23 made it abundantly clear that Tuhey would make an attractive selling point for the new condos across a pedestrian bridge.  The League would like to see additional effort expended to find a suitable location downtown—perhaps even replacing the old jail.   A number of alternatives are available for consideration on https://www.savetuhey.org/index.html .

 


Executive Statement of Support for a White River Corridor Recreation Concept, 

an Alternative to the Mounds Lake Project

2 September 2015

 

The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that natural resources should be managed as interrelated parts of life-supporting ecosystems. Resources should be conserved and protected to assure their future availability.  Pollution of these resources should be controlled in order to preserve the physical, chemical and biological integrity of ecosystems and to protect public health.   

LWVUS Impact on Issues 2014-2016: A Guide to Public Policy Positions.


The League of Women Voters believes that responsible government should:

·       Be responsive to the will of the people.

·       Promote public understanding and participation in decision making as essential elements of responsible and responsive management of our natural resources.

·       Promote the conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest.

·       Ensure transparency, accountability, positive community impact and preservation of the common good when considering the transfer of governmental services, assets and/or functions to the private sector. 

·       Promote an environment beneficial to life through the protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest. 


In its 95-year history, the League of Women Voters of the United States has demonstrated its belief that responsible citizens should educate themselves and participate in public decision-making.   Six months of research by our local Environmental Study Committee, working from League positions on Land Use, Water Resources, and Fiscal Responsibility, led us to oppose the Mounds Lake Reservoir Project.  The same League positions on Land Use, Water Resources, and Fiscal Responsibility as well as Social Justice compel us to consider positive alternatives for the White River Corridor.  


Criteria for our support, from the League’s Position on Natural Resources and Resource Management: 

The League supports comprehensive long-range planning and believes that wise decision-making requires, [among other things]:

·       adequate data and a framework within which alternatives may be weighed and intelligent decisions made; 

·       consideration of environmental, public- health, social and economic impacts of proposed plans and actions; 

·       protection of private property rights commensurate with overall consideration of public health and environmental protection; 

·       special responsibility by each level of government for those lands and resources entrusted to them; 

·       special consideration for the protection of areas of critical environmental concern, natural hazards, historical importance and aesthetic value: 

o   areas where development could result in irreversible damage (such as shore-lands of rivers, lakes and streams…; rare or valuable ecosystems and geological formations; significant wildlife habitats; unique scenic or historic areas; wetlands;…); 

o   renewable resource lands, where development could result in the loss of productivity (such as watersheds, aquifers and aquifer-recharge areas, significant agricultural and grazing lands, forest lands); 

·       special attention to maintaining and improving the environmental quality of urban communities. 


The Hoosier Environmental Council (hecweb.org) has a well-developed plan for the Mounds Greenway that appears to meet our criteria. A coherent plan for the White River corridor from Muncie to Anderson would additionally benefit the greenway and trail projects submitted by the newly-formed East Central Indiana Regional Development Authority as part of its bid for state dollars.  As a consensus and study-driven group, we affirm our intent to study the Mounds Greenway plan as an ecologically wise use of our natural resources in the White River corridor for recreation and potential economic benefit and to remain involved in the evolution of the river corridor. 


Executive Statement of Opposition to Mounds Lake Project

Results of Six Months of Research by our Environmental Study Committee, Working from League Positions on Land Use, Water Resources, and Fiscal Responsibility

Mounds Lake Reservoir

 

A response to the proposed Mounds Lake Project, which would build a dam and reservoir on the White River. Working from long-established LWVUS positions on land use and water resources, the committee presented their findings on January 10, 2015 to the entire League which overwhelming agreed with their recommendation to oppose the project.

 

Our White River—Don’t Dam It!

 

Included in our concerns:

   there is no proven need for water. Our information from Citizens Energy Group indicates that there is no foreseeable water shortage, and if one occurs they have a plan in place that will cost less than buying water from Mounds Lake. 

   the reservoir would be on top of several industrial hazardous waste dumps, necessitating cleanup at an undetermined cost. 

   the removal of thousands of mature (200-300 year old) trees in the river corridor would have an adverse effect on air and water quality. 

   removal of the trees would accelerate erosion and threaten the integrity of prehistoric earthworks at Mounds State Park. 

   the reservoir would drown a dedicated state nature preserve and destroy the fen at Mounds State Park. The Mounds fen is an extremely rare natural community of very high quality, created during the Ice Ages. 

   CED states that " Mounds Lake is being developed as a water supply reservoir, but there are likely to be downstream flood control benefits." Since Muncie-Delaware County is upstream, this is a non-issue for our county. 

   it is clear from Phase II engineering study that this will be a working reservoir, with fluctuating water levels. Reservoirs of this type are not attractive and Delaware County will be at the muddy, shallow end. The proposed low head dam to be built in Delaware County is to collect the sludge before it hits the main dam in Anderson. Is this really what we want? 

 

In conclusion, the epoch of dam building is behind us. Over the decades Americans have learned that dams degrade and reduce water quality; destroy natural river movement; introduce invasive non-native species that take over habitats of native species; slow the river current which warms the water and contributes to climate issues; and decrease, rather than increase, recreational opportunities.

 

·      we do not support or oppose any alternative plan, as we have not studied it.