Dear Council Members,

You will be making important decisions in the next few weeks relating to the Wildflower property. Three current Council members were not engaged in the initial process especially the meeting when the Council voted to purchase the property or the workshop held to entertain the peoples’ input along with proposals from several businesses seeking to participate in an RFP.

To assist the five of you in making the best decision for our city, will you please review the two meetings available on video.  Those of you that were there may find it refreshing to see what creative people came up with for using the property.

Decision to buy –  Meeting held 12-08-09.  Advance to 31 minutes, 00 seconds. Please note that the Mayor stated the use of the property being that of a park for all the people. Here’s link to site with meeting.

Workshop/RFP –  Meeting held 10-18-11.  View the whole meeting and get a complete view of how citizens hoped the property would be used. Here’s link to site with workshop.

The people you represent overwhelmingly want green space.  The idea was and is to “draw” the public to that waterside location and serve people of all economic levels.  The current proposal will only serve a few because of the cost of meals.  Their menu is on line.  What makes our City and community special are the beaches and parks which are mostly east of the Intra-coastal. This area, on the west side of the waterway, will allow many more people in the downtown area to make use of the site.  With Palmetto Promenade and other projects, apartment dwellers and home owners in the Golden Triangle will have a place to enjoy the water.  Only Red Reef Park offers a water view with picnic tables but it is not close to downtown. The Wildflower property would serve many more families were there picnic tables, some shade trees, a fountain for children to run through, a place to watch the Boat Parade, a site for functions hosted by the City, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary etc, it would be for all the people.

Please consider what is best for everyone in your decision.  If left as public green space its use can be changed in the future with ease.  If you embark on the limited use as a restaurant you will miss the opportunity to truly see what is best for the majority of those you serve.  The City does not need the money as it did back in 2008 or 2009.  I would bet the residents would be happy to contribute to their common green space knowing they, their children and grandchildren can take advantage of it. Financial contributions with donor recognition can be requested to support specially designed benches, tables, the fountain, walking paths with stones and other facilities. This property needs to be protected and preserved for all people of varying incomes.

Respectfully,

James and Nancy Hendry