Unfortunately, so often good intentions go bad, especially if it involves government, and it looks like it could be happening again in Naperville.
The Naperville Jaycees offered a huge donation to help build a Smart Park adjacent to the Naperville Municipal Center. I’m not exactly sure what a ‘smart park’ is, but if that’s what it takes to get $200,000 from the Jaycees then I’m all for it. The definition of ‘smart’ is a quick-witted intelligence, or clean, neat, and well-dressed. So if that’s required to get into the park, I might be able to almost qualify on one of the two.
Initially the Naperville city council made the Jaycees jump through some hoops in order for council members to accept the generous gift, but ultimately the Jaycees qualified for handing over the money to city officials. When council members were shown the plans for the Smart Park in full color, the council was quite excited about the possibilities. Beautiful colors have a way of raising the excitement level.
During the last council meeting (April 17) as the plans were unveiled, with all the bells and whistles, you could feel the enthusiasm from city officials. It was almost as if they were kids, and each was being offered a cute little puppy. What kid doesn’t want a puppy. When kids learn from mom and/or dad that they have to feed it, give it water, take it out , and clean-up little surprises left on the floor, they still want the puppy. Then after they have the puppy, somehow they forgot about the responsibility that goes with it.
This almost happened during the council meeting until Naperville councilwoman Rebecca Obarski threw a bucket of cold water on the council when she asked, how is maintenance going to be paid for? The audacity of Obarski to ask such a great question during the fun and festivities. Watch and listen as she asks her question, followed by Mayor Chirico’s response, which doesn’t quite satisfy Obarski, and city manager then chimes in with a little bit of double-talk intermingled with some fuzzy math.
Good for councilwoman Obarski for asking the question, and dilly, dilly for the good folks of Naperville for having the answer on record. We’ve been down this road many times before; “don’t worry, it’s paid for”, including hearing it when Naperville cut a horrendous deal with its provider of electric, and then we heard it when the Carillon was built, and now it’s falling apart and in desperate need of funding.
It’s never a problem, until it’s a problem. But bingo, Naperville city officials always have a Plan-B to solve financial problems. And who better to explain Plan-B than Naperville city manager Doug Krieger: