New taxpayer built park in Stickney unavailable to the public Pt - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

New taxpayer built park in Stickney unavailable to the public Pt. 2

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

One day after FOX 32’s story about a pricey park that taxpayers paid for, but can't use, leaders of the agency that built the park scrambled to avoid answering questions.

"Mr. St. Pierre, hi, can I ask you a quick question," asked FOX 32’s Dane Placko.

"I prefer not right now," responded Water Reclamation District Chief David St. Pierre.

St. Pierre hustled out of an appearance before the City Club of Chicago Tuesday when FOX 32 started asking about a brand new $226,000 park built with taxpayer's money.

As FOX 32 reported Monday night, the park is inside the district's Stickney water treatment plant, which means the Cook County taxpayers that paid for it will never get to use it.

"I don't think they should use taxpayer money on something that people can't enjoy. You need a badge to get in," asked Stickney resident Jerry DiMaggio. "So, what good is it for the taxpayers or the people if they can't even go visit it?"

On Friday, a number of Water Reclamation District commissioners were on hand for the park's dedication, which is being named in honor of board president Kathleen Therese Meany.

She called it the district's 125th anniversary gift to itself.

"I said why don't we turn inward and instead of a gift for the city, why don't we have a gift for our employees? Something they can enjoy," said Meany.

On Tuesday, many of those same commissioners were on hand to hear St. Pierre tell Chicago’s movers and shakers about the district's work.

However, when FOX 32 tried to ask him about the park, he avoided answering the question.

"I’ve got to run," said St. Pierre.

With that, he joined the other commissioners in a district van and headed back to district headquarters a few blocks away.

Only commissioner Frank Avila was willing to go on camera and defend the park expenditure.

"We give tours there. We give an awful lot of tours at the Stickney plant. So it will provide opportunities for our tour people to come have lunch there," said Avila.

Not on camera, a couple commissioners told FOX 32 they had no idea the park was going to cost nearly a quarter million dollars, and admit it doesn't look good.

By the way, FOX 32 got the tip from a district employee, who said he's frustrated they're spending money on a park, while basic equipment needs in the treatment plant are being unmet.

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