MIDLAND, Texas — Last week, the Midland City Council made the decision to move on from the Quality of Place Conservancy in the Hogan Park project.
Midland Mayor Lori Blong held a press conference Monday afternoon at Midland City Hall to address it once more in order to accept the reality of the situation and move forward.
Mayor Blong thanked the donors who had raised $28 million through the conservancy and asked for them to stay with the city as the council works to figure out what’s next in this process.
She also highlighted the need for the council to have unity and a common purpose.
“There is too much good work to be done," said Mayor Blong. "It’s time to stop wasting time squabbling and end fighting. Now is the time to move forward.”
Mayor Blong took some time Monday afternoon to express her thoughts regarding the Hogan Park project and current state of the city council she serves on.
When it comes to Hogan Park, some council members are in the process of reaching out to donors who may still be interested, but the specifics of the project are unclear.
“Part of this is just going to be letting some of this settle, and then going back and formulating a plan to move forward," said Mayor Blong. "City staff has been participating with a lot of the plans we’ve made with Hogan [Park] and the Quality of Place Conservancy over the past several years, and so we’ll just kind of regroup and decide how we’re going to move forward.”
$10 million dollars has already been pledged by the City of Midland to the project, with $4.5 million still left to use.
Considering the 2021 price tag of $55 million for the entire project is probably higher now, there are questions to be answered for what the eventual renovations might be.
“You have to figure out ‘what is the scope? What is the cost? And what will taxpayers be on board with?' and present that to them in a manner that’s conducive to them saying ‘okay, I'm all for that.’," said Midland City Councilman At-Large Dan Corrales.
Mayor Blong explained that this result shows the council is not united on several key issues.
Corrales said they were forced to vote last week on the update to the project before they had a chance to discuss it, perhaps illustrating that disconnect among the council, something it seems they are committed to fixing in order to work together.
“In order for us to move forward, as a group, that starts with us looking within, and taking a good look in the mirror and asking, ‘how can I be better? How can I do things with this council, where, maybe we agree to disagree on some things, but – on a whole – how are we doing things for the best interest of Midlanders?' And that’s really what I hope is our focus moving forward," said Corrales.
Corrales said there was a lack of transparency even before Mayor Blong took office and that the council can’t have that anymore.
As they look to get on the same page, the Hogan Park project will remain a topic of discussion.