Bob Hackworth on the Patch Podium: Quality of Life
Each of the mayoral candidates took a moment on the Patch Podium to explain — in his or her own words — what quality of life advancements he sees in Dunedin's future.
As part of our continuing coverage of Dunedin's upcoming elections, we are launching a question-of-the-week feature leading up to the election. This is the candidates' opportunity to answer some questions that might be on residents' minds, right here on the Patch Podium.
This week, we asked:
- What quality of life advancements do you foresee in Dunedin's future?
Bob Hackworth responds:
Voters looking for a clear contrast between the two mayoral candidates’ views on quality of life enhancements in Dunedin need look no further than the debate that took place as the city worked to acquire the 8-acre waterfront property that became today’s beloved Weaver Park on Bayshore Boulevard.
Faced with an initial setback in 2006 in securing state grant money for the purchase from the Florida Communities Trust, a state land-acquisition program, my response as reported in the St. Petersburg Times on Sept. 1, 2006, was this:
Mayor Bob Hackworth said Thursday that he wasn't giving up. He wants to try for the grant again next year, or find another way to keep the property from slipping into the hands of a private developer.
"I was very excited about the deal," Hackworth said. "Obviously, it was essential that we get the grant because the dollars weren't in the city's resources.
"But the reasons for wanting it are still there," he continued. Such as getting that public access to the waterfront.
Dave Eggers, the vice mayor, had a different take on the situation. He said, "Frankly, from my perspective, this gives us a little pause and time to think if we need additional parkland. And if yes, where?" Eggers said. He felt the proposed deal had more questions than answers, was too expensive, and was being rushed forward.
"I was not overly disappointed that this did not happen," he said of the grant.
And that’s still the difference between the two of us. When push comes to shove, I’ll do what it takes, I’ll make the tough decisions; I’ll find a way.
Our great quality of life in Dunedin is no accident. It’s the product of years of dedicated hard work and vision by determined residents and enlightened leaders. Past mayors, city commissioners, staff and volunteers were able to look to the future, to plan for the future, to budget for the future even in difficult economic times, even when times were tight and their visions seemed impossibly difficult.
The whole reason for my campaign to take back the mayor’s seat, in fact, is to protect and preserve the enviable quality of life we enjoy here in Dunedin. It’s why most of us have chosen to make our homes, raise our families and do our business here, why visitors flock to our small town, why we’re nationally and regionally known as a vibrant and inviting community. Our parks, our thriving downtown and cultural institutions, our public waterfront access and the scenic natural beauty we’ve preserved for all — these are the things that make Dunedin.
If we choose to limit rather than to build upon that legacy, we risk losing it. Every argument for economic development must take quality of life into account. Every budget discussion and planning initiative must include its preservation.
As mayor, I’ll invest in our city and always look to improve Dunedin’s quality of life. That’s the leadership Dunedin needs again.
- Bob Hackworth on the Patch Podium: Experience
- Bob Hackworth Has 'Passion for Good Government'
- Eggers Vs Hackworth for City Mayor
See also, Dave Eggers' response.