O'Day Park and the City of O'Fallon

The terminus of the tax payer and their money
A review of one park structure as an extrapolation of the entire park as taxpayer abuse. 
A Scheme too Far?


Note: This Page--"It is too longwinded"

So I split it into the short version and the super long version. (We live in hurried times)



The short version of this page (as to not waste your valuable time)

St. Charles County Missouri, the City of O'Fallon has promised to (waste?) spend 14 million dollars to upgrade the new O'Day Park.


Let me offer just one example of poor judgment or abuse using the taxpayer dollar:

O'Fallon spent $11,000 for just one small pavilion. A structure that could have been constructed for $2,000 or less.

I would suggest the taxpayers of O'Fallon & perhaps Missouri in general should review how their tax dollars are being wasted.

Furthermore as mentioned in the longer version of this page: Ask their representatives for the projected operation & maintenance costs of the O'Day Park... (per year and over it's lifetime)

Then vote them out of office and by all means enjoy the new park and new brewery!

A photo of the $11,000 pavilion with the imposing name of "Terminus.

Is Terminus a representation of stupidity or corruption? Or both?

Politicians Creed: "It is always Grand to spend other peoples money"


Not sure what happened, however the original cost of Terminus (Per the O'Fallon "Master Plan") was as staggering $35,000!



End of the short version of this page!



And.....Now......The overly long version to enjoy; It is reading material for those of you stuck in a blizzard, rush hour traffic, sitting for a dobule root canal or jury duty. Or for the very few residents of O'Fallon who actually care how their tax dollars are.........used.



Question


Could the review of just one of the overpriced and unneeded structures in the new O'Fallon park be a representation of the abuse of the entire project? A Terminus of logic and accountability in Missouri?

I sadly suspect it can and does.


Background:

I am originally from Missouri but was stationed to Florida during my tour in the USAF and now I have one foot in the Midwest and one in Florida.

There is a stunning book about Brevard County Florida where the local County Commissioners and various city fathers..... to say politely "Abused the taxpayers trust" spending millions in tax dollars with little accountability.

The book is called "Brevard Good ole Boys" and was the only the real exposure of malfeasance on a grand scale.

The local newspaper was one of the beneficiaries of the good old boys special projects and consequently there was a total lockout of reporting from the paper.

From the Amazon.com review of the book:

"Expecting voters to know to cast ballots against those involved in inappropriate official behaviors without the local newspaper ever reporting them is like expecting the fire department to show up to extinguish an inferno when no one has sounded one alarm"

The very next election after the book was released; outraged tax payers of Brevard County voted the local politicians out of office,(I would like to think I was the first in line) 

But of course the damage had been done. Millions of dollars had been wasted-cronyism at it's finest.

Burton Smith Park in the swamp

Burton Smith Park

I happen to live near one of the "Good ole boys" pet projects:

An giant, grand pavilion/auditorium (a truly impressive structure) set in the middle of a swamp. Literally constructed in an alligator filled swamp.

The huge building constructed around 1985 cost $750,00 dollars in taxpayer dollars and to this day is mostly unused, perhaps rented out to a family every other weekend for a cookout.

Nearly a million dollars spent in an alligator swamp. Did I mention it is an impressive structure? Little used & poor location but an impressive taxpayer funded burden nonetheless. (We call it Burden Smith Park)

Burton Smith Park is an example, a extrapolation of the vast taxpayer abuse in Brevard County.

Sadly what the book taught me was that most likely every county or city in the United States was probably abusing their taxpayers. An epidemic of fraud and abuse.


A great Missouri example is the St. Charles County Councilman who quite innocently slipped in a zoning change out in the rural Missouri countryside to allow micro-breweries "out in there hinterlands".

Wow -only a year later a heir of the Busch Beer fortune requested to build the largest micro brewery in the nation. The neighbors and area residents protests were ignored because the zoning had been changed.

To be honest I'm not sure how the sunshine laws work in Missouri, however the brewery deal appears to be another good ole boy project in the back room.

Or perhaps the City Councilman was just looking to better the farmers and horse people out in the country by allowing a 500 seat brewery on a narrow back country road. What do I know? I live in Florida.

Nefarious Burton Smith Park in the swamp-really not that much difference from crooked politicians everywhere else.



Of course this brings me to the subject of the new O'Day Park in St. Charles County Missouri.



A Missouri Park on the O'Day Creek

Terminus of logic and accountability in Missouri?

$21,000 million approved by the voters of the City of O'Fallon to spend for two parks. 

$14,805,341.83 of that money to be used for the land known now as O'Day Park.

O'Day Park was already owned the City of O'Fallon; 55 acres purchased years ago for one dollar. (The reason is explained in the O'Day Creek pipeline leak page)

The City of O'Fallon in their excellent propaganda stated they were going develop the 55 acres to create a "Green Park" for the bargain price of $14,805,341.83

Of course a simple fact was overlooked:  O'Day park was already a "Green Park" -oak and hickory forests laced with gravel roads and soybean fields gone wild. The same type of park that is found and enjoyed across America. Land equally shared by wildlife and people.

Consequently, developing an already green park to make it greener....reminds me of Burton Smith Park in Florida.

Was simple corruption the driving factor in Missouri as it had been in Florida?



Why did the voters agree to their fleecing?

In our age of rampant uncontrolled housing developments ANY park, any green space is really invaluable.

So a 21 million or a 14 million dollar investment in "green" might.......might be wise. I can almost understand why the voters passed the spending. It was not exactly a terminus of common sense, parks are valuable and needed.

However I do believe if the city representatives had been clear about the never ending operating costs of their new green-Green park-if a local paper would have only asked that line of questioning, the vote would have a resounding "hell no"

But of course the goal was to spend taxpayer money and those who make the rules-ran an excellent Public Relations campaign, rubbed their hands and smiled at the money soon to be flowing their way.


What if the entire goal for the $14 million was never actually "a green park" but a scheme to spend money-spend a lot of money on needless (wasteful?) projects resulting in unnecessary building contracts, land clearing, paving and concreting of already green (forested) land?


The successful propaganda to spend tax dollars.

A photo from the pipeline spill clean up & relationship to the new park (Banquet/meeting lodge propaganda sketch)

The entire venue has the oddly bitter tang of crony capitalism. (just my opinion only-I live in Florida)


To be honest my preference is for the truly green parks like what can be found on the bluffs of the Missouri River or the Ozarks.

Notice any expensive sidewalks in this trail to the river?

Just a bench.

The City of O'Fallon's version of a "Green Park" expensive sidewalks to nowhere.

I am however impressed by the boldness of their scam on the tax payers.

Note on the photo: This hill is where my brothers & I collected artifacts as kids


 $14,805,341.83 to be spent on O'Day Park alone

 


The official O'Day park cost as presented by the City of O'Fallon. $14,805,341.83 to be spent on O'Day Park. (Have to love the little disclaimer "based on 2013 costs")



Out of simple curiosity I keep looking at the plans for the park, the proposed spending & the end product.

Simple curiosity because I grew up on the land they now call the O'Day Park.

Simple curiosity and a dislike of any predatory abuse of taxpayers-even if I am not the tax payer.

And I am not. I do not live in the ever expanding city-empire of O'Fallon.

 

Public record: the money to be used on the O'Day Park is there for all to see.

I shake my head.

$30,000 to be spent on a bronze lizard..........Does any taxpayer in the ever expanding empire of O'Fallon actually have a say on what is considered waste or frivolous? There seems to be a terminus of common sense.


Terminus

There it is gullible taxpayers of O'Fallon.

Your $11,000 shelter grandly called Terminus!

No, no, look closer it really is there.

"Ouch"

To be fair I provided a better picture of the taxpayers $11,000 shelter. This is Terminus!

(Wish I had some French Horn music) It is freaking awesome!

And per the Master Plan on the O'Fallon web site the cost of Terminus is a tiny sum of $35,000!


Terminus!

Out of sheer curiosity I attempted to see what it would cost 'me' to construct the small shelter grandly named Terminus. 

Dictionary meaning of Terminus: "The end or final point of something"

I suppose that could mean the end of the park or something.

However the more I look into the cost of "Terminus" I think that it really means, "The end of common sense" or the "The end of taxpayers say in how their tax money is spent" perhaps "The terminus of honesty"?

$11,000 and change for the Terminus structure. Recall that old story of the $600 hammers in the military?


Don't know why the citizens of O'Fallon are not up in arms at the terminus of common sense.


Simple curiosity.

I went the Lowes website.

What it would cost 'me' to build Terminus. (French Horn!)

Posts: 4-in X 6-in x 12-ft;  Treated Lumber   $34.99   Need four.  $120

2-in X 6-in x 12-ft; Treated Lumber $8.67   Need 8 to build the roof    $69.

3.5625-in x 8-ft Raw Pine Wood Tongue and Groove Plank $15.98 for roof.  Need 14   $224

1/2-in Angled Strut Bracket  $2.97   Need 12    $36

10 x 10 concrete slab = 100 square feet, $700.

Roofing material: $24.00 for shingles

Material costs: $1174.00   Now I omitted screws and bolts, lighting rod and copper ground wire.   So I will be really generous and say that a copy of Terminus could be constructed for less than $2,500.00

Labor? Well the City of O'Fallon already employs carpenters that could build terminus in two or three days. (If you skipped the slab, which is not needed anyway) But lets say you hired a contractor: another $1000.

But of course in my estimate, I was not using the reduced material pricing that contractors obtain. Or the power of the city in negotiating prices in bulk.

 

So the City of O'Fallon could build Terminus for considerably less than my $3,500 estimate.

So that leaves $7,500 in frivolous expenses, wasteful expense? Shall I dare to say crony capitalism expense?

Extrapolate one of my favorite words. "To project or extend known costs or waste (Taxpayer abuse) into other areas possible taxpayer abuses"  ---If the cost of one small pavilion is 50-200% inflated, could I extrapolate that the cost of every structure is equally inflated? 


Should anyone address the question if the costly "Terminus" at the end of the park was even needed?


Cost to operate the O'Day park?

The terminus of tax payer savings.

Of course I do not know what the City of O'Fallon is going to charge for the use of this park (this Green space) to offset the operation expenses.

However unlike a business model of the private sector, any city run park operation does not have to make a profit to stay in operation. They can raid the tax payers. Forever. Forever...

--An actual green park would require nearly no cost to operate.

Operational expenses for O'Day Park in labor alone is close to a million dollars a year!

So the "Official" estimated annual cost for park operations personnel is $139,265-$153,000  (data is directly off of the O'Fallon web site)


Nowadays isn't labor the most expensive part of any business? So it is not really difficult to figure park labor expenses: Just count the bodies required for this city venture (business park.)


O'Day Park is going to require full time security -360 days a year.

Clean-up workers: Wow. Clean up the campsites. Clean up the water park. Clean the "Teen areas", clean the convention/wedding building. Clean the concert venue-300 or more party goers. Clean the playground, clean Terminus (a gang hang out?) Clean the $30,000 bronze lizard. Empty the trash cans if used.

Maintenance? Grass, painting, restrooms, electrical, kitchen, air conditioning, vacuum/sweep/mop.

I have heard the fee for the convention/meeting will be $1200.00 a night. That is a fair price. And the official revenue generate by the lodge and shelters is approximately $150,000 (data from the O'Fallon web page)

Oh, you have to pay a full time salary for some to schedule and manage the reservations of the meeting building.

Caterers, drinks, alcohol, beer trucks.


Let's not forget the cost for the traffic light. Yes there will be a traffic light. 

 

Projected costs for the taxpayer of O'Fallon:

 

Manager/scheduler    $60,000 a year plus benefits.  Need a back up person.

At least Three full time security guards, working 8 hour shifts (one roving, one at the gate). Need a back up person, make that Four full time guards: $160,00 a year plus benefits.

How many extra people will the city have to hire in their parks division to cover this raid on taxpayers?

On or two greens keepers. Two part time bartenders. Someone to repair the playgrounds, the teen shelters, the out of the way Terminus.

One full time janitor. Wait, concerts? That would be about six part-time trash pickers per concert and an extra security person per concert. Might need a security system to watch all the unattended cars during concerts. Any extra insurance required for the city to turn their drunks loose on the public highways?

Cost for lighting and electricity?

 Wait, did I just read a Zip Line also? A Zip line?

Who is operating that?

Hunters and vandals.

Campers, playgrounds teen pavilions, all set in one of the favorite hunting areas of St. Charles County....How is the park going to deal with deer hunters? There will be shooting in the area. The park is in a wooded area, not down town O'Fallon. Who pay for someone to hunt the hunters? The local police? Someone from the Parks division? Expense of another guard on an all terrain vehicle?

 

That leaves the subject of vandals. The north side of O'Day Park has a development. (I am not saying the name because I might get sued) However the development will be disgorging bored teenagers into the park. The park will be a shinny irresistible attraction. Not picking on teenagers, but they like to destroy stuff.

The development is well known to the local police as a problem area.......300-500 parked cars during a concert? Irresistible smash and grab & disappear into the forest. Most of these thugs will never have heard of the copperheads that live on the ridges. The scouting tents? Another choice target for local thieves. Terminus because it is a remote shelter will be a hangout.

 

The proposed scouting area is currently the ATV party hangout. (I know, I inspected the trashy area)

Who is going to chase these partying ATVs? Clean up the mess? The people camping have to put up with the drunks driving the woods?

 


This boondoggle should be the terminus of corrupt politicians. Did the city fathers explain the never ending cost of these parks when they pushed for their 21 million? That would be a terminus of common sense to believe they were upfront on anything negative that would have sunk the already close August vote.

The O'Day project should be the start of a terminus of cronyism. A lot of people made a lot of money from the needless facilities of the O'Day Park. But then again who am I fooling. The taxpayers voted for this scam.

Speaking of taxpayers---When are the tax payers of Missouri, of St. Charles County, of the City of O'Fallon going begin the terminus of their tax burden? If there is not a reduction of the tax burden, Missouri is on the road the failed business model of California or New Jersey. Financial disaster in the Midwest.

And that is the terminus of this page......






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