Will Green Park’s leaders doom city to mediocrity?

By MIKE ANTHONY

It’s no secret that since Green Park was incorporated in 1995, it has not lived up to its full potential as a city.

That’s a shame because that failure shakes one’s faith in representative government. A disastrous flirtation with tax-increment financing — or TIF — soon after its incorporation nearly brought the city to its knees and garnered Green Park the nickname “Clown City.”

Elected officials and appointed officials since have come and gone, but none has been able to entirely erase the moniker of “Clown City.”

Unfortunately, that circus act has continued even after the April election — the outcome of which we believed would be beneficial for residents.

After questioning the necessity of the often-delayed Green Park Road project before the election, several elected officials have done an about-face and now are supporting the proposed road improvements. Given that three such officials were elected largely because of their supposed concerns about the project, the word waffle comes to mind as the project apparently is proceeding.

In fact, the latest issue of the city newsletter proclaimed that the preliminary plan for the road project “should be available soon for viewing at City Hall.” But being that the city’s July newsletter made the same coming-soon announcement, perhaps city officials are distracted with other endeavors and are losing their focus on issues they actually govern.

For example, as the Call’s Burke Wasson reports today, several of Green Park’s elected officials — Mayor Tony Konopka and four aldermen — are concerned about the Mehlville Fire Protection District’s “reduced staffing” for ambulance service.

In a letter sent last week to MFPD Chief Jim Silvernail, the five elected officials lament a reduced level of service for the city — apparently oblivious to the true facts of the situation. Figures compiled by MFPD Assistant Chief Steve Mossotti and provided to the Call show that the city is benefiting from more extensive ambulance service now than in previous years. We can only conclude that the letter was drafted as a knee-jerk reaction to who knows what.

If Green Park’s elected officials continue to flounder amid empty promises and flip-flops and focus on outside issues instead of getting their own house in order, they will, as city incorporation leader Fred Hoehn told aldermen last week, “forever sentence this city to mediocrity.”