A Potter’s field is a graveyard for the unwanted and the indigent. It is the final resting place for the unwanted of society. Delaware State Rep. Charles Potter thwarted a deal that could have renovated Baynard Stadium into something children could really enjoy. Instead, he convinced Wilmington City Council to stop a deal with Salesianum, a Delaware private school, into donating $20 million dollars to make the Wilmington municipal recreational area into a state of the art facility. Why?
The Delaware News Journal wrote an editorial on this very odd move of a State Representative yesterday.
In the “Save Baynard Stadium” email sent Nov. 11, Potter rallied constituents to oppose the Salesianum offer, saying “To give control of the stadium to a private school, which would then control and determine the athletic playing schedule for field use could place public school children, youth groups and community groups at a disadvantage, for a minimum of 50 years. I do not believe that it is in the best interests of the children in the city of Wilmington to have their future athletic extracurricular options determined by a private school.”
However, as the News Journal pointed out, this was already part of the proposal by Salesianum. They would have accounted for all of Potter’s concerns in the plan he should have actually read and understood. Wilmington needs a lot of help, so why kill a deal that would have benefited the city immensely? While boasting about securing $200,000 for new bleachers at the stadium, he undermined a deal that would have given the park $20 million dollars. Why?
There is no question that any deal between Salesianum and the city would have had to clearly state usage parameters that were beneficial for all parties. And we firmly believe such parameters were already on paper. But then Mr. Potter fumbled the $20 million ball.
I hope Potter’s fumble didn’t ruin any chance Baynard Stadium has of getting a deal like this in the future. As someone who writes all the time about the dangers of corporate interference in education, this deal was harmless. It would have benefited the City of Wilmington and the children who use this park. In reading the editorial, it seems more a matter of ego for Potter instead of doing the right thing for kids. And yet I don’t see Potter doing much to stop real corporate interference in education. I just don’t get it. How is saving a municipal park that is already rundown and turning it into something better justifiable in any possible way?
That’s what Salesianum School was planning to spend on renovating the stadium. That’s $20 million in private donations.
Not user fees.
Not tax increases.
Just private donations.
Thumbs down of the week to Rep. Potter… bad form…