We are now on the sixth installment of my examination of Freedom of Information Request production from the Village of Lakewood.
On April 1st I got wind of a letter that Trustee Gary Sexson sent to some Lakewood residents in support of his campaign for re-election.
In it he wrote,
“The Sportsplex development is currently a dead issue with no vote from the Board planned.”
When asked about Sexson’s campaign piece saying the SportsPlex was “currently a dead issue,” on April 3rd Village President Erin Smith emailed me the following:
“Gary’s statement is misleading and I suggested that he word this differently.
“Based on my conversation today with Gary, I understand that ‘Dead’ was Gary’s way of communicating the same message that we have communicated in our Village newsletter: that we do not yet have a redevelopment agreement that is ready for formal consideration and until this is scheduled, we do not know if the Sportsplex will be formally considered.
“We have said consistently that our Village Board will not bring the redevelopment agreement forward unless we are comfortable that it represents the best interests of our residents.
“The negotiations that precede a formal vote on a project of this magnitude are difficult and ongoing.
“We introduced the Sportsplex project to the public at our information night far in advance of the vote to provide the public with ample opportunity to consider it based on the information available at that time.
“If we waited until the redevelopment agreement was scheduled for formal consideration, it would appear as if we had surprised the public and we are committed to providing full transparency.
“The downside of early communication is that it gives everyone a lot of time to speculate and spread false information.”
Since the documents that were being traded between Village officials and SportsPlex representatives have not been shared, it impossible to know just what the SportsPlex folks were requesting that led to Trustee Santowski’s observation that
“there was too much ‘take’ on the developers side.” [Emphasis added.]
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