Head over to Klyde Warren Park at noon today and you'll be treated to a lunchtime piano recital. This evening, you can stop by for a zumba class, if that's your thing. Tomorrow it's a stroller boot camp and yoga, all in addition, of course, to the park's myriad other amenities.
It seems that free labor from the park's 10-year-old namesake isn't quite enough to keep a 5.2-acre deck park that draws 15,000 visitors per week up and running. And this, mind you, is before they put in the ice rink. Needless to say, young Klyde seems ill-suited for zamboni driving.
So, the park's operators are seeking to create a public improvement district that would levy a small tax on surrounding property owners ($250 per year per $1 million in appraised value) to help cover the park's operations and programming costs.
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"The positive impact of Klyde Warren Park has surpassed expectations on every measure, creating enhanced quality of life and tremendous value for our city," Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation chairman Jody Grant said in a press release dispatched rather early this morning. "The park's unbelievable success and the proactive support of our neighbors have encouraged us to accelerate our efforts to form a PID."
The press release comes after the Morning News got its hands on a letter sent to property owners asking for their support, since they'll need at least 60-percent buy-in from affected property owners by April 1 if they want to.create the PID.
The irony, which News pauses briefly to note, is that the park has been heavily touted as a philanthropic gift to the city that requires no tax money to operate. But Grant makes the case that the park has been a boon to the neighborhood, generating traffic for surrounding businesses and allowing property owners to hike rents. Only fair that they chip in to support the park.
That's not unreasonable, though it might have been wise to notify people a bit earlier since, as Grant tells the Morning News, "we've been aware of this possibility for a long time."