LETTER- $400,000 too much for park

Thanks to Dave McNair for his article about the dubious worth of the McGuffey Park renovation ["Nanny park: Toddler-friendly McGuffey reopens," November 15]. Last spring I was shocked and awed that the city was giving $400,000 for a facelift of one city park. Most of us said, "If it's not broke, why fix it?"

Like McNair, I'm wondering what's going to keep "vagrants and druggies" from hanging out and drug dealing in this new park. Are the police suddenly going to supervise it more than before? Is that included in the $400,000?

How about those five months of park play the kids lost to massive construction, only two months late?

What shocks me above all is the city's priorities with the $400,000. What about other small, safe parks in the city?

I guess only the elite neighborhood with no parking for outsiders matters in our town. Might those vagrants and druggies hang out less frequently in parks if they had more supportive shelters?

Has the city considered more neighborhood centers for teens? Do they have to wait for some corporation to finally build a swim/rec center for $12 million?

Imagine a democratic parks and rec system. Safe parks all around town.

So now we have more new rock walls, more new plants, new equipment, fewer old trees, no woodsy street buffers. McGuffey looks even riskier to me: lovely, long, fine wood benches for sleeping vagrants nd druggies, lots more ways for kids to fall and lose balls over low walls, and higher slides and only two lights.

All this leaves me awestruck by how earth movers, stone companies, and stonemasons, concrete corporations, and mommy landscape designers lined their pockets without fixing the park's problems.

Help me understand why the city spent so much to fix one unbroken park.

Sarah Peaslee