We all love our environment, and I am pleased that the 100 Acre Wood ended up in public ownership. However, in my opinion, the creation of a metropolitan parks district to pay off the loan balance is a poor solution because it's inequitable and fragmented.
It's inequitable because it places a tax burden on Southside property owners for an asset that will be enjoyed by everyone. Its also inequitable because of a history of poorly conceived planning that inappropriately rezoned the property for development, and then granted development rights that inflated the property's value. While those development rights should never have been granted, they do have value provided they are sold to other areas in the city designated for higher density (i.e. urban villages). That solution would recoup some of the value that the community is currently paying for while keeping all the land in public ownership.
The proposal is fragmented because it sets up a new bureaucracy to administer a park district despite the fact that we already have in place one of the best parks systems in the nation. Our city council wisely provided a six-year period to find an equitable solution for paying off the purchase. Let's give our mayor, our city council, and our city's parks and planning professionals an opportunity to find a better way to pay for and manage this invaluable community asset.