Letter to the Editor

Chamber proposal draws criticism

Thursday, May 9, 2013

To the editor:

Here we go again. We have extra funds in the Parks and Recreation fund and Main Street Blytheville and the Chamber of Commerce are looking for an excuse to get their hands on it. Blytheville has already shelled out over a million dollars on the bus station and the Kress Center and still fell short on getting all the renovations complete. It's a scam that our elected officials keep falling for and the citizens of Blytheville keep paying for.

There is a fund called the Advertising and Tourism fund where the monies come from the hotel and motel tax that is generated in this town. I have not heard of anything in this town that this fund has been used for, so there must be millions of dollars just sitting there waiting to be used, unless its already been squandered by the people who have the means to do so. Maybe one of the council members should use the Freedom of Information Act to point out how much money is in that fund and what, if anything, it has been used for in the past five years. Also, they should verify just how much money has already been spent on those facilities in downtown Blytheville.

I believe the monies in the parks and recreation fund can be used to benefit Blytheville in other areas. We need a recreation center on the Sports Complex and a new clubhouse for the golf course. The people in this area could benefit from a recreation center, and the clubhouse is in disrepair. The Arkansas national golf trail has been promised year after year that we would build a new clubhouse. They provide a huge amount of advertising that attracts people to our city. More so than most people know or are willing to admit. It's truly amazing to see all the people from various states coming here because of the golf course. People that are staying in our motels and eating in our restaurants. Of course, the ball fields also bring people in from outside the area too, and people who are proponents for either one should realize they need to be on the same team.

The Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Blytheville only care about how much money they can get from the city and have not been accountable for the money we have already given them.

That 50/50 grant could be used for the new rec center and clubhouse, and Main Street Blytheville could use funds from the advertising and tourism.

Of course, we all know that certain people run this town and do what they want with the money being generated here. I thought the new administration and city council would somehow be able to change things for the better, but if the city allows the Chamber and Main Street to continue having their way, nothing will change.

If the Chamber really wants to help, why don't they come up with a plan to rid our town of all the housing that needs torn down and do something about the slum lords that rent these unsafe and unhealthy living conditions to our citizens?

The Chamber hosts a golf tournament every year to raise funds for their cause, but they don't help the city by using the city golf course, yet they ask the city to help them every year with a donation. Anytime there's a chance of getting money from the city, the Chamber is involved. But you don't see them in the areas where this city needs help the most.

I would ask you to call your city council member but its pointless, no one wants to hear the truth and don't want your opinion. This city uses every dime they have coming in and then looks for ways to get more with a few promises. Past history tells the tale.

(What ever became of those lost funds from the bus station that I read about in the paper a year ago?)

William Masterson