The Town of Monson is bringing the Veteran's Field Spray Park proposal before Town Meeting on May 14th. As there has been plenty of buzz around the proposal, we have developed an FAQ sheet to help residents understand the facts associated with the project.
Monson Spray Park F.A.Q.s
Do we really need a spray park?
Of course, building a spray park is not vital to the health and safety of Monson’s residents. We believe it is not a question of need, but rather a key part of an overarching drive to make Monson a place people want to live, work, and visit. In recent years Monson has been more aggressive with business development, attraction, and attraction, housing rehabilitation, and community placemaking. As the Town attempts to bolster what it means to belong to the great Town of Monson the idea of the downtown area as a destination for activities is paramount. The spray park is simply one aspect of an overall plan to help drive this vision.
How much will the building of this park raise my taxes?
$0.23 annually per household – The construction of this project is entirely funded through Community Preservation Act Funds (CPA). These funds are assessed every year regardless of expenditure. Spending this money on a Spray Parks does not change the amount of revenue collected.
Estimated annual costs are based upon ongoing maintenance.
What is the Community Preservation Act?
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a smart growth tool that helps communities preserve open space, historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities. CPA also helps strengthen the state and local economies by expanding housing opportunities and construction jobs for the Commonwealth's workforce, and by supporting the tourism industry through preservation of the Commonwealth’s historic and natural resources. For further information please visit: http://www.communitypreservation.org
How long will this project tie up all of my CPA dollars?
The spray park doesn’t tie up all of your CPA dollars. While the first $130,000 is funded in year one, part of this plan is financing the park over 5 years. Within these 5 years, only a fraction of the CPA funds is allocated to the project. The rest of the funds are available for other projects.
Why is the cost of the park so expensive?
As a municipality, the Town of Monson must pay prevailing wage, architectural and engineering fees, and provide contingencies to allow for unforeseen issues. Generally, prevailing wage adds 30% to the project cost, contingency is another 30%, and architectural/engineering oversight is usually 10%.
Does the State match CPA funds?
The State of Massachusetts has matched on average 86% of all CPA funds allocated for CPA in the Town of Monson. That means that the State is paying for 43% of the total cost of the spray park.
Is this park accessible?
As designed this park will be wheelchair accessible. Accessible parking will be located at grade with the entrance of the park and those with mobility challenges have level access to the amenities.
Why are we voting on this again? Is it because it is the Town Administrator’s idea?
Many issues come before Town Meeting multiple times and have for decades. It is a central component of democratic government. The Town has been approached by families throughout Monson to bring the issue to the table again. It is interesting to note that no other recreational proposals were brought before the Community Preservation Committee between the last Town meeting and the upcoming one.
The Master Plan for revitalizing the downtown area was developed several years before the current Town Administrator was hired. During the planning phase of the project, 64% of respondents liked the idea of a spray park and it became central to the plan at that time.
How much will this park cost to maintain?
Estimates for the maintenance of the park are roughly $1000.00 annually. This includes regular cleaning and treating of the spray surfaces.
Why would we build a spray park when the schools need money?
CPA funds cannot be used to fund the School Department. The legislation which created CPA specifies that the funds can only be used for open space, historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities.
Will this park increase enrollment in our schools and convince people move to Monson?
Probably not…at least not directly. The Department of Education predicts that school enrollment over the next 5 years will drop 18%. It is unlikely that someone would purchase a home or move their family to Monson solely because a spray park exists. However, basic economic development theory holds that if you bring people to an area they are more likely to spend money and enjoy other sites in the local area. Maybe they decide to live here, maybe they don’t.
So, this park will bring people to the downtown area to spend money?
Attractions that bring people to the area boost the local economy. Further, people are 100% more likely to spend money in Monson if they actually come here than if they do not. This is the basic economic development philosophy that is present and has worked throughout the Commonwealth and the country.
I would rather add to the playground or build a pavilion than build a spray park, can we do that instead?
Adding to the playground and a pavilion are already planned for the area and outlined in a master plan for the park developed in 2013. The overall goal is to create an accessible park with water, playground equipment, and an outdoor space for other attractions. This is in addition to the skate park, fitness equipment, and basketball courts which are already present.
What if someone falls in the park, will my taxes go up?
The park is covered under the Town’s general liability insurance. The risks are the same with anyone who falls anywhere on Town property.