Park and rec candidate Mark Footer

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By Vicky Gits


Broker-owner, Intero Real Estate Services

Educational background

Northern Arizona University, B.S. in business administration

Family information

Married, three kids

Age: 43

Length of residence in Evergreen/neighborhood you live in

Upper Bear Creek, 10 years

Why you are running for the park board?

I have tendency to rant, and my wife finally said, “OK, what are you gonna do about it?” A more concise answer is I am invested in my community, and I want to see EPRD through a pivotal time. There have been some changes in the last four years. I want to make sure it has the same community connection it has historically.”

What do you believe are the top issues facing the park district board?

(1) Responsible management of finances. Recognizing the board’s responsibility to maintain existing facilities, rather than build new ones. Let’s manage what we’ve got before building more. (2) Recognizing the responsibility to include the entire district. Sometimes we get so focused on special issues we forget to step back and look at the larger issue and the connection to the community. Listening to the community as a whole is a big issue.

Were you in favor of conducting recent feasibility study that was jointly funded by the park district and the CAE. Why?

Why were we doing a feasibility study for an arts center before the question was put out whether the community wanted it? Why is there such a cozy relationship and why does CAE have such unprecedented power? Why them and not the rodeo association? Why them and not the music community? It seemed to be done specifically for the interest of one nonprofit. I take issue with it. The funny thing is, the report concludes there is “insufficient demand to justify a new large multipurpose event space.” But there was identified a “need for a larger space for the Center for the Arts Evergreen.” I can’t vote for (the directors of the CAE). They aren’t a public group. Why are they getting a feasibility study done?

What is your opinion of the idea of building an arts center in Buchanan Park next to the Buchanan Rec Center as a joint project of the park district and the CAE?

In a word, I’m opposed to it. The entire premise of the connection between park and rec and the arts (is something) I hear quoted often. The phrase is, “EPRD recognizes the arts as a form of recreation,” and I don’t see that as a basis to invest $7 million of EPRD resources into an arts center (see page 38 of the feasibility study). That’s $7 million of expense based on a policy that EPRD defined arts is a form of recreation. That doesn’t seem sufficient for that type of commitment.

What level of development if any is appropriate for Buchanan Park and how do you feel about the concerns of the neighbors in The Trails and The Ridge?

Page 22 of the master plan (a graph depicting public sentiment) says gardens, trails, picnic areas, playgrounds grass fields (are highly rated). (In other words,) a park. On that same chart, it addresses buildings, and (new buildings) come way down on the bottom.

How do you see the role of the arts in a special recreation district?

We need to further define what the arts is. What is “arts as a form of recreation”? My vision of it is classes. It might be oil painting, pottery … And this is one of the neat things. It has the potential to appeal to the whole age range from children to seniors. I’d like to get all of the art groups together and get feedback from them. Figure out what they’re providing and what the need is. And ask the community how much of their resources they want to spend on it.

How much should the board decisions be governed by the results of the upcoming community survey to be completed this spring?

I think it should pay attention in developing the next district master plan. I don’t think they should just suddenly change direction. Incorporate the answers into existing plans and the existing budget, and use that as a baseline on assessing what we are currently doing and what we will be doing.

What would you like to change, if anything, about the district and the way it is run?

If you sit in on the board of director meetings, there is no harmony. It’s carrying over to the staff. I get a lot of feedback from the community. It’s now a corporate entity no longer connected to the community. Use communication to revive the cooperation and harmony that make an organization function well.

What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

Get the board more connected with the community and develop that three-way relationship between the board, the staff and community.

Open-ended statement of your choice.

People need to read, do their homework and pick the candidate that represents their needs. Let’s get some communication going. I need to hear what individuals’ concerns are. I want to hear what they say. If they want an arts center, make sure everybody can participate. How much are you willing to spend to build it, and how much are you willing to increase your taxes? See my blog, www.eprd2010.com. I’m putting all the public’s comments up there.