Sunday, February 10, 2013

Arkansas Music Pavilion: The Revenge of Marilyn Heifner?

Posted By on Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 12:31 PM

One expects a city government to travel down the wrong road on occasion. It’s okay, though. To err is human; to vote out of office is divine.

And Fayetteville is no exception to the fact that cities, comprised of human beings, can screw up royally from time to time.

Buying the ancient Mexican Original building - hey! It leaked in the rain!

Turning Block Street into an English Gothic Folly.

Making some business owners on Dickson Street feel like second-class citizens.

Buying 197 manhole covers which came back with “Fayetteville” spelled wrong, and thus requiring that they be sent back and replaced. Actually, it was a salesman who for the foundry who spelled it “'Fayettville” on the order form - still - $8,000 down the drain there in 1987.

The incinerator fiasco and resulting lawsuit which cost the city of Fayetteville millions of dollars.

Providing the spark which ignited the Great Access War.

The herbicide issue so many years ago.

Now, Fayetteville has a chance to really, really screw up, if it listens to Marilyn Heifner, Executive Director of Fayetteville’s Advertising and Promotion Commission.

Ms. Heifner, who in a previous incarnation served as mayor of Fayetteville when the city was run under the city manager/board of directors form of government, came under public criticism many times during her tenure as mayor from activists for her views on a proposed incinerator and city use of herbicides.

And more recently, she was in hot water for her creative interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act when talking to a Northwest Arkansas Times reporter.

Now comes Marilyn Heifner with a bold scheme for city officials and A&P commissioners to join forces, as it were, and help pay for a regional park, Walton Arts Center renovation and a permanent home for the Arkansas Music Pavilion.

You know, the AMP - which might prove to be worth the money one day. No, really. Well, maybe not.

Where would the money for this dream (or some might say nightmare) project come from? Ms. Heifner proposes selling $23.7 million in bonds, which would be paid for out of the city and commission’s share of the hotel, motel and restaurant tax.

There is a small, cynical part of me which remembers that Ms. Heifner (and deservedly so) did not receive anything in the way of public support from Fayetteville representatives on the A&P when she was in the public spotlight over her FOIA troubles some months ago.

Would she like to exact a pound of flesh for their non-support?

If so, it is pretty damned expensive pound of skin. To use that awful cliche, we all have skin in the game when it comes to city finances - is this something that we can truly afford, especially when it means that it would take money away from other projects the city already has in mind?

Besides, if Ms. Heifner wants the city to help support the AMP, maybe we should know all about their financial structure, including the intake from all their shows, not just from the entire season as a whole.

******

The Daddy Warbucks Park versus the Ozark Poets Park

A fresh wave of cynicism hit me as I read of possible ideas for generating revenue for a Fayetteville park, including “naming rights.”

I’m not sure about you, Macabre Reader, but I’m a little grossed out over those with money climbing all over themselves to have buildings and parks named after themselves. This is still Fayetteville, isn’t it? Perhaps it might be possible not to follow in the footsteps of other cities and still name parks after people?

“See you later, Mom! We’re gonna go skateboarding at the Titanic Construction and Earthmoving Park ® !”

*****

Quote of the Day

Untold suffering seldom is. - Franklin P. Jones

rsdrake@cox.net

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