Yelm Splash Pool would be in lower right of drawing.
Diagram courtesy: City of Yelm
– Editor’s note:
A federal grant to serve low-income households and individuals misappropriated to build yet another monument to Mayor Harding’s legacy with a water-themed splash pool, is not covered under the grant’s objective. In our view, the grant to fund a water feature here should be denied!
With social issues here taking front and center stage, i.e. Yelm’s Public Safety highlighted by a lack of adequate police staffing for a city of 9,000 persons, a murder-suicide just across county lines in McKenna, and the horrific sight of a person setting himself on fire in Yelm, we have so many folks in our community that need our help.
Below is a letter sent to the Thurston County Commissioners June 30th (copied to Mayor Harding and the Yelm City Council), who were accepting comments on a proposed HUD and Community Block Grant for $305,000 to pay for a proposed Yelm City Park splash pool.
– To Whom it may concern:
We are writing to express our concern and disapproval about a proposed $305,000 HUD and Community Block Grant being considered to fund a Yelm City Park splash pool.
The purpose of an HUD and Community Block Grant is to “provide a variety of activities that serve low-income households and individuals.” A Yelm splash pool does not accomplish that objective. To allow grant monies to be used for such a limited purpose, for a splash pool that may get utilized 3 months out of the year, circumnavigates the grant’s purpose.
Two previous bonds for a Community Center failed passage by Yelm voters, yet the Mayor and then-City Council went around the voters and got grant funding for a scaled-down Community Center, which now costs Yelm tax payers hefty O&M expenses not covered by rental income. Further, the city received a skate park grant [a Community Development Block Grant for $439,00]. Now, Mr. Harding wants to build a splash pool adjacent his Community Center via federal grant funding.
With so many social issues in Yelm, the time has come where Mayor Harding’s focus to create things as his legacy must be outweighed by investments in Yelm citizens. Since Yelm is considered a low income community, how does a splash pool make any sense when our citizens need help. Poverty, hunger, homelessness, and local military families could certainly be supported in many more beneficial ways by the $305,000 HUD funds. How can the Yelm Mayor single-handedly decide a splash pool is the highest and best use of that money?
People come first!
Therefore, we ask your consideration to deny approval of the $305,000 HUD and Community Block Grant for a Yelm splash pool and remand back to the City of Yelm for them to follow the grant’s objective to: “provide a variety of activities that serve low-income households and individuals.”
Bill Hashim, Steve Klein
Mayor Harding’s Community Center monument to himself, he bypassed 2 voter-denied bonds,
acquired a grant to build anyway. At right is Yelm Mayor Ron Harding, Susan Wilcox, center & Tracine Derby, left.
Prairie Days, June 2016.
Photo credit: Barrie Wilcox, submitted in the Nisqually Valley News.