Burlington park remains at crux of impasse

Published 10:10 am Friday, February 27, 2015

Keeping the status quo as far as the Burlington Commons park is what at least two of the county commissioners would like to see.

Right now the Fayette Township Trustees have an agreement with the county to maintain the park, but not manage it. They want that changed and in January requested the commissioners enter into a management agreement with them.

Their reasoning, according to trustee president Perry Brock, is if they pay the bills, they should manage the park instead of the grass roots volunteer organization, the Concerned Citizens of Burlington that also does work there.

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If the commission does not agree to the management agreement, the trustees want the maintenance agreement dissolved.

On Thursday a contingent of the Concerned Citizens addressed the commission that they don’t know why the trustees want the change and want to sit down with the trustees to resolve the situation.

“There has been a total lack (of communication), “Ed Moellendick, Concerned Citizens president, said. “Mr. Brock has never approached our group. We were being shunted aside after 30 plus years. The commission is best served if the Concerned Citizens and the Fayette trustees work together.”

The Concerned Citizens could take care of the maintenance of the park and pay for the water and electric, but need the trustees to help fund improvements there, he said.

Recently Lawrence County Commission president Les Boggs asked for a prosecutor’s opinion on whether the commission could enter into agreements with the Concerned Citizens, which it can, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Commissioner Bill Pratt said he wants the control of the park to stay with the Concerned Citizens, but with input from the trustees.

“How can things be paid for without the trustees’ help?” he said.

It is the trustees who provide the match for grants that have paid for such things as playground equipment.

Boggs said he asked Brock to Thursday’s meeting, but the trustee had another commitment.

“I’m not willing to throw (the current agreement) out the window,” he said.

Moellendick wants to talk with the trustees to find a solution to the current impasse.

“I think we can work it out,” he said. “If not, we have the power of the vote.”