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Midland City Council votes down agreement with Quality of Place Conservancy

In a 4-2 vote, the city decided to not make a deal with the nonprofit group that has been raising money for Hogan Park renovations.

MIDLAND, Texas — Hogan Park was at the center of discussion during Tuesday’s Midland City Council meeting.

A decision needed to be made on whether or not the city would move forward with an agreement with the Quality of Place Conservancy.

With some residents in favor, “I ask that you would vote for this agreement, vote for this investment,” said one resident.

While other residents were opposed, “transparency should be understood, and this situation is anything but transparent from the beginning,” said another resident.

“I felt like there was uncertainty in the long term terms," said resident Lori Forbus. "I felt it would be costly for the citizens of Midland, and I felt like the rules were not quite clear on how it would be charged to citizens to use."

Resident Eliel Rosa gave public comment before the council on why he was against the conservancy.

“It is great when private sector comes and wants to help, but as one of the ladies said today, they can donate directly to the city," said Rosa. "Why go through a mediator or somebody in between that could generate some shady areas that we are not for, we as citizens. That was the focus of my intervention today."

Before the vote that resulted in 4-2, final thoughts came from councilmembers who appeared split on their decision.

“This is a benefit to our community, and it should not rest on the backs of taxpayers when we have contributions for it in hand,” said mayor Lori Blong.

"I found out that it can be done without a third party," said councilmember John Norman. "I've talked to donors, I've talked to other donors who said they would give to a city."

“There are other ways to do it," said councilmember Dan Corrales. "We did plan to do it in stages, and that can be done. The conservancy is now seeing why it has to be done in stages, because they can't get the capital to do it all in one. I’m just wanting to communicate to you, the everyday person, the information you've been wanting and that’s why I will vote no on this."

The overall price tag to renovate Hogan is $55 million, that's for everything in the plans. As it stands, the conservancy has raised $28.5 million in private donations. 

The city has pitched in $10 million. According to Dan Corrales, half of the money has already been spent on making improvement, and design is not lost.

The city is going to reach out to those donors who contributed to the $28 million to see if they're still willing to contribute.

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