Does Not Represent Residents’ Interests
Innovate–don’t duplicate! The Academy Community Center survey results do not equally represent the interests or age groups of town residents. Of the 2,049 respondents, 453, or 22 percent, were from ages 14 to 17. A Madison Youth and Family Services (MYFS) representative asked the high school principal to get students’ input. The principal designated time for high school students to complete the survey. The data would be credible if the same actions were taken to collect responses from each age and interest group equally. This was not done; the survey data is skewed and does not represent Madison residents’ interests for Academy.
The survey didn’t add clarity, just the opposite. Transparency is everything; as such, all meetings should be recorded, made public, and special interests highlighted, especially on a referendum vote that was split nearly 50/50. Town officials are allowing MYFS to occupy 1/3 of the Academy building when town offices were not a use the public wanted for Academy. Taxpayers spend millions of dollars yearly for programs, services, and resources for the same demographic in all the town facilities already afforded youth in the schools, the many ball fields in town, the stellar facilities at the Surf Club, etc. When is enough (of the same) enough?
Officials were blind to alternative proposals for the old Griswold property but accepted only a plan of more ball fields — the town bulges with ballfields. The Academy is to be a multi-generational resource with programs and opportunities for all interests and age groups.
A real success at Academy is a public/private partnership of tax revenue-generating aspects with point of destination amenities. It would be a huge asset to the town without the redundancies proposed in the survey. Town leadership must broaden the scope and bring forward imaginative and innovative thinking to Academy.