Lanierland Music Park - Design and Construction - District 4
The Lanierland property is another example of Patrick Bell’s dictatorial methods. In the Forsyth County News and as to the Park and Recreation Board we were shown design plans for the Lanierland property that the county purchased. The plan was in the process to the construction bidding phase, when Commissioner Bell had another idea. On a whim, he decided to do away with some of the rectangular fields and add equestrian facilities. Never, at any time had I - as the member of the Park and Recreation Board for our district - heard it mentioned we needed equestrian facilities. We had not met with people in the horse community to seek input. We had not met with the citizens that live in the northeast part of the county and asked what they preferred. We had not spoken with any of the booster club representatives. We had not done any of the necessary due diligence and he just unilaterally changed the plans and brought it to the BOC for a vote. I heard about it a few days before Patrick Bell’s fellow Commissioners heard about it because of an email from the Director of Park & Recreation, Jerry Kinsey. Commissioner Bell called me on another issue and I mentioned to him that I had heard he was making changes to Lanierland. He seemed enthusiastic about the change because he thought it would generate a lot more revenue. I asked the county staff later if they had found that to be true and I was told that none of the parks they checked with said that the type of equestrian facility Commissioner Bell was proposing, rarely broke even and had proven to be about the same situation money wise as any other park facilities. Commissioner Bell got angry when I had commented about Lanierland on the Focus on Forsyth site and he even said that I had acted to him as if I supported the change. I never 'acted' like I supported anything. I saw it then as I see it now, the people should have a say. No one should be able to make an abrupt change, especially when it has been printed and reported publicly that something is going to be done in a certain way, without seeking the public’s input. I have nothing against an equestrian facility but if I were a commissioner, I wouldn't feel that it was my right to rush and make a decision like that without input from the district that I represent. When we put the question to the Focus on Forsyth group page, even the equestrian members said that the design being proposed would not serve their purpose and would not be used effectively, if built as presented. Many said that horse competitors would not consider such a facility that offered so little compared to facilities in Hall and Fulton counties.
Research, thought, and communication are key components in serving the public and Commissioner Bell didn't practice any of these three when changing Lanierland. If he were going to have these ideas, it would have saved the county LOTS of money if he had them prior to the design being done on the site. Every time you decide to go in a different direction, it costs the citizens an excessive amount of money. That is the reason why you research, think, and communicate with your constituents, your park staff, your appointees, and your fellow board members ahead of time. Good decisions come from good reasoning and not from whatever mood you happen to be in on that particular day. If I receive the honor to serve as your 4th District Board of Commissioners member, you may rest assured such whimsical and mercurial behavior will cease immediately and I will listen to the people who put me in office.