Post Opinion columnist Sally Swartz writes that most Martin County residents just wanted a community pool. But the Martin County Commission voted to build an $11 million pool and water park — complete with a fake river. And that created a funding problem.
Scheduled to open next March, the pool-water park has an annual operating budget of nearly $1 million — about $93,000 a year short of what the facility will earn. High entry fees from $7.25-$9.25 won’t cover operating costs.
So, Sally writes, Kevin Abbate, a former Broward County parks employee who took over Martin’s Parks and Recreation Department earlier this year, came up with ideas to make the pool-water park and other Martin parks make money.
To many of Martin’s nature-loving residents, Sally says, Mr. Abbate’s ideas are, to put it gently, shocking and horrifying. Billboards in parks. Big fees for “naming rights” of park facilities, with money the only criteria for purchase.
Ads everywhere — on water park inner tubes, plastic wrist bands and the county’s web site. A cynical description of children and young mothers as “a captive audience” for advertisers to target. Plans to train park employees to sell ads.
To read Sally’s full column, click here.