Apr. 20—The Parks and Stormwater Sales Tax Committee has made a good call in the way it is splitting funding.
The plan is to use 55% of the tax money on parks and 45% on stormwater issues in Joplin, should the tax be renewed this summer.
And it should.
The tax, which has been around for 20 years and has twice been approved/renewed by voters, has traditionally spent a larger share on stormwater improvements than on parks because there was a more immediate need for flood reduction and a number of expensive projects.
Splitting it 55-45 in favor of parks this round will mean about $23.4 million for park projects and $19.9 million for stormwater projects.
Some of the top park projects on the city's list include:
—Splash pad and other features for Ewert Park.
—A 5- to 7-mile mountain biking trail and other work at Dover Hill Outdoor Recreation Complex.
—Beautification program to increase landscaping and flowerbeds, signs and other projects at city parks. The city also would install security lighting and security cameras at parks.
—Paying the operating costs of the Joplin Athletic Complex, which were not included in the tax when the complex was built in 2008 at $600,000 a year or a total of $3 million over 10 years.
—Building phase 2 of the Tin Cup Trail.
—Converting softball fields to turf at $800,000.
The committee will make a recommendation to the Joplin City Council on May 10, after which the council will move to place the quarter-cent sales tax renewal before voters for another 10 years. We think their recommendation is a good long-term balance.
This tax has been a great investment for Joplin and deserves support when it comes up for renewal later this summer.