Matt put a great recap of yesterday’s important Park Board meeting. Having myself watched a good portion of the meeting, I agree with him. It appears that the professionals have arrived. Everyone who spoke on behalf of Spectra and Fair Park First came across as refreshingly competent. I wanted to share just one small exchange. For me, this was the highlight of the meeting. You can watch it here, at minute 42 or so of the second video. It begins with Jesse Moreno asking a question of a Spectra representative:
Jesse Moreno, Park Board member: “I’m still trying to put my head around how [you have] almost the same amount of budget and you guys are going to have a year-round Fair Park. How do you do that? How do you produce more events, how do you draw more people, how do you have more concerts, how do you have, you know, any activity out there without really—I mean, are we mismanaging our current budget?”
Bobby Abtahi, Park Board president: “Don’t answer that. [lots of laughter] I’m kidding.”
David Leibowitz, Spectra’s vice president of finance: “Maybe the easy way to answer that question is, well, there is a reason why you’re hiring us, right?”
There were multiple occasions where an exchange like this took place. Someone on the board would ask a question along the lines of: “How is it even possible that you can do everything you’re promising?” And someone from Spectra would calmly say, “Because this is what we do. We do it all over the world.”
Some questions still remain. Hopefully Thursday’s special Park Board meeting for public feedback (5:30 p.m. at the Hall of State) will be productive. There’s work to be done before this goes to Council for a vote. But yesterday was a great step.
UPDATE (12:17) An alert FrontBurnervian called to take me to task for not mentioning in this post the impressive mustache worn yesterday by board member Paul Sims. That, too, was a highlight. I regret the oversight.