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Letter: Improve park for all residents

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It’s no secret Flower Mound residents love a good debate.  Give residents a topic, and a list of real and imagined pros and cons will be generated on the Flower Mound Cares Facebook page by nightfall.  The latest debate, is the need for restrooms in public parks – specifically, Rheudasil Park, one of Flower Mound’s oldest public parks.

Some people that live close to Rheudasil are perfectly happy with no restrooms.  If nature calls, they run home, use their own bathrooms and return to the park with little disruption to their activities.  These folks are concerned that restrooms will bring unwanted odors and more unwanted people to what they believe to be “their” neighborhood park.  The adjacent residents believe the Town should NOT build the restrooms, but they don’t have a problem asking the Town to reallocate the $200,000 cost of the restrooms and add an additional $1.6 million of improvements that THEY feel are necessary. 

Before you decide on the need for restrooms at Rheudasil, let’s put Rheudasil Park into context.  The ten acres of Rheudasil were donated to the Town to honor the Town’s first beloved mayor, Bob Rheudasil, when there were less than 5,000 residents in Flower Mound.  Mayor Rheudasil is famous for saying, “I welcome you to Flower Mound as long as you welcome the next person.” 

Rheudasil Park is one of the most used parks in Flower Mound.  It is the site of Flower Mound’s annual “Kid Fish” (where 6 port-a-lets had to be brought in for the May 2014 event) as well as part of the Stone Creek linear park system.  This park system contains trail connections from the north, south, east and west and is inclusive of one of the longest continuous trail sections in Flower Mound.

Given the history and usage of Rheudasil Park, it is hard to argue that it’s a neighborhood park.  It is clearly a community park and was always intended to be a community park. Oh yeah, and all Flower Mound residents taxes go to support this as well as ALL the parks in Flower Mound.

So, what does the Flower Mound community have to say about restrooms at the park?  The restrooms have been planned for and included in Flower Mound’s budget since 2008.  Every council since 2008 has voted unanimously in support of them. Talk to anyone who doesn’t live near the park, but has used or currently uses the park and the subject of restrooms comes up.  People of all ages and abilities, toddler to seniors, have all had their visits cut short due to lack of restroom facilities at Rheudasil…. or they make the decision not to use the park at all.

The residents against these restrooms have had the opportunity to discuss their concerns with Town Staff as well as the Mayor.  Fears about crime and other illicit activities are unjustified.  Ask Town staff or the police department about crime in our parks and they will tell you we have very few problems and what we do have is limited to lost dogs and minor graffiti.   I’ve also heard that they feel their home values will decline.  However, after speaking with a local realtor, I was told that living next to or near a park actually increases the value of a home.  All of their fears have been addressed, yet they still insist the restrooms will cause horrible problems in “their” park. 

Residents worried about unwanted odors can rest assured…the proposed restrooms will be modern facilities and cleaned on a regular basis – like all the other public restrooms in our parks.  For added security, the restrooms will be locked from dusk till dawn.

These “anti-restroom” residents need to understand that this park, as well as its maintenance, is funded by ALL of the taxpayers of Flower Mound.  How hypocritical of them to want to deny all residents the opportunity to fully enjoy this park and then in the next breath, ask the taxpayers of Flower Mound for $1.8 million in improvements. 

Rheudasil Park belongs to all the residents of Flower Mound and always has.  Have Flower Mound citizens really gotten to the point that they no longer want to welcome their fellow residents to a community park?  This behavior goes against everything Bob Rheudasil stood for.

The Town Council will vote on the restrooms on June 2.  Please take a moment to let them know that you, as a taxpayer, support necessary improvements to this community park.  You can email them at towncouncil@flower-mound.com.

Patsy Mizeur
Flower Mound, TX

 

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