It’s amazing when you see a political ploy work.
Signs are popping up all over northwest Greensboro, like the one above, that indicate the Greensboro Science Center will receive money from the parks and recreation bond on the July 26 ballot.
Letters, comments and posts indicate that supporters of the Greensboro Science Center believe that the Greensboro Science Center will receive $20 million of the $70 million parks and recreation bond.
This is exactly what the Greensboro City Council planned. The City Council in its discussion of the proposed parks and recreation bonds mainly discussed the Vance Chavis-Windsor Recreation Center combined facility that at the time was estimated to cost $70 million, and according to City Council comments will receive $50 million of the $70 million in parks and recreation bonds.
District 1 City Councilmember Sharon Hightower argued for more of the $70 million in bonds be spent on the Vance Chavis-Windsor project in her district. However, the majority of the City Council agreed that some money had to allocated to a project that would ensure the support of the voters in northwest Greensboro.
It appeared at one meeting that the City Council had agreed on a $60 million for Vance Chavis-Windsor and $10 million for the Battleground Parks District. But the actual breakdown that was evidently agreed to by the majority was the $50 million for Vance Chavis-Windsor and $20 million for the Battleground Parks District including the immensely popular Greensboro Science Center. Somehow the $20 million in bond money morphed into $20 million for the Greensboro Science Center.
In reality, even the majority of the City Council saying that $20 million will go to the Greensboro Science Center has no more validity than an IOU.
But it appears the ploy is working. The signs in northwest Greensboro don’t mention that the bulk of the bonds is slated to go to one project on Gate City Boulevard and less than half as much to the Greensboro Science Center.
It also isn’t mentioned that even if the bonds pass, the Greensboro Science Center may not get a penny and, for that matter, the Vance Chavis-Windsor project may not get a penny either.
The City Council is under no obligation to spend the $70 million in bonds on any particular project. It could spend all $70 million on Vance Chavis-Windsor or could decide to spend all $70 million to build a massive new state-of-the-art parks and recreation administrative building, to build a new golf course, to put a dome over the Latham Park Tennis Courts, to build a hundred pickleball courts or any other parks and recreational facilities.
The City Council could even do what it has done with the $25 million in bonds passed in 2016, purportedly for downtown streetscapes, and not spend the money at all.
The only restrictions on how the $70 million can be spent are in the paragraph on the ballot that states:
“Shall the order adopted on August 31, 2021, authorizing $70,000,000 PARKS AND RECREATION BONDS of the City of Greensboro, North Carolina, plus interest, for the purpose of providing funds, together with any other available funds, for acquiring, constructing, improving and equipping various parks and recreational facilities for said City, including, without limitation, a joint library and parks and recreational facility, and the acquisition of related land, rights of way and equipment, and providing that additional taxes may be levied in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on said bonds, be approved?”
Note there is no mention of the Vance Chavis-Windsor facility or of the Greensboro Science Center in the language governing how the bond money will be spent.