Elm Park presents rare city opportunity; Process is important

There was a time when Elm Park along West Fourth Street was teeming with softball teams daily in the summer, with both league and tournament competitions going on seemingly around the clock.

That time has passed. The Elm Park Softball Boosters Association has disbanded, the former lease on the complex has ended and the city owns the property.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana wants to recruit a private developer to purchase the property for recreational and tax-generating purposes.

We agree with the push to get this property on the tax rolls. City government does not get many opportunities to expand its tax revenues and the property is in a viable location for perhaps new, quality housing. The city does not get many of those opportunities, either.

Besides long-term tax roll benefits, the city gets revenue through building permits and the construction work means quality-paying jobs for those doing the building.

The considerations that must come with the idea involve process and integrity.

A full airing of the general proposal and a potential future developer must include City Council committees and City Council itself.

And the promise to leave the Original League Field, where the first Little League baseball game was played, untouched must be kept.

The other important considerations are infrastructure and street work that must be done as part of the development.

This is, as the mayor said, a “golden opportunity” for the city.

But taking best advantage of that golden opportunity means a devotion to each portion of the process and plan for that area.