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Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

January 20, 2013

Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2013, at 4:59 PM

The Malden Parks and Recreation Board is currently receiving the results from a great idea. In November the board decided to distribute printed surveys asking what the public wanted most from our parks and recreation system. The format used was a list of projects to be built, improved upon, or in some instances newly created. The surveys were enclosed with monthly bills sent to residential customers of the Malden Board of Public Works. Completed surveys are being returned, and they make for interesting reading. Some of the projects suggested are a swimming pool, volleyball courts, a skateboard park, additional playground equipment, and so on. Respondents were asked to rank each project on a scale of one to ten with one being the most important. At this point, approximately one hundred surveys have been returned. The clear leader in suggested projects is improved restroom facilities. We all like to play, but, "When you gotta go, you gotta go."

The suggestion I found most interesting was for an "adult obstacle course." I don't know if the suggestion was for something similar to what we had in the army or perhaps milder. I have visions of the adult citizens of Malden leaping from towers fifty feet off the ground and sliding across ropes strung to other towers or trees with participants wearing combat packs and carrying weapons. I'm fairly sure I could still do it, or at least I could climb the cargo nets or crawl under the swinging log barriers. Maybe an "adult obstacle course" would just consist of giant bills that were due and you had to negotiate them or children from ages zero to thirty staring at you with disapproval and you had to mollify them. The possibilities for creating an "adult obstacle course" are endless.

I am very pleased with the response of our town's people to the surveys, and I believe the park board will take them to heart and try to accomplish as many suggestions as they can. The only limitation on what we do will be that great adult obstacle, "money."

I made a trip to Little Rock, Arkansas recently for a meeting of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP). The purpose of the meeting, as I understand it, was to decide to which scheduling authority or "balancing" authority Malden would belong. Topics discussed were wholesale electricity and its generation, sale, and delivery. I accompanied our city administrator, our power plant manager, and the utility manager from Piggott, Arkansas. I was, quiet frankly, dead weight at the meeting. A large group of energy professionals from multiple cities and states was in attendance, and the discussion was technical. If you are not a member of the inner temple and people are speaking techno-speak, it's hard to follow the conversation. Acronyms like MISO, SPP, SWPA, MJMECC, and many others were tossed around. The people there were smart people who deal every day with complex issues. As far as I can report, the gist of the discussions was that electricity is increasingly expensive and the delivery systems are more integrated than ever before. Malden must choose to be a partner in the new "balancing" pool or find someone with whom to associate. The people representing Malden at the SPP meeting declared it a "good" meeting. I was reinforced in my belief that the average person cannot walk in off the street and grasp the complexities of the energy business. However, Malden does have people on its utility board and working for the BPW who can.

The city council meeting last Monday evening was very brief. It lasted twenty-one minutes which is probably a good thing in that little mischief can be accomplished in that short a time frame. The decision to contribute money to the purchase of an electronic message board was made. The sign board will be built in partnership with the Malden Schools and the Malden Board of Public Works. We need a way to communicate with the public and coupled with the traditional media and the new social media hopefully no one will be uniformed about current events in our community or if there is an emergency. Certainly, anytime different local governmental entities can cooperate for the public good and to share the costs of a project it can only have a good result for all involved.

The financial report is as follows:

January 11, 2013Balance $1,392,098.46

Revenues $43,585.27

Expenses $120,829.03

January 18, 2013Balance $1,314,853.70


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