Gilbert Town Council candidates talk about town parks

The nine Gilbert Town Council candidates look at future amenities in parks and their costs

Posted 7/16/22

What is your view toward future amenities in town parks and paying for any such amenities? 

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Gilbert Town Council candidates talk about town parks

The nine Gilbert Town Council candidates look at future amenities in parks and their costs


What is your view toward future amenities in town parks and paying for any such amenities? 

Chuck Bongiovanni, co-founder and CEO of Majestic Residences Franchise Systems

"It's always great to have town amenities in parks as they increase the quality of life for our citizens. But, I feel we need to balance those amenities with costs to the taxpayers truly. We can't chase the new shiny thing in our parks just because we can. I believe in getting the surrounding neighborhoods involved and asking them what they would like in town parks near them. One of the best parks we have is Riparian Park. I don't recall seeing any waterslides or pools in it."

Bobbi Buchli, real estate broker 

"Gilbert has more parks than many other cities in the state. Gilbert has great parks and a lot of them, but at the current time, my view is Gilbert does not need any more parks or amenities, and the other parks started should be completed. Tax dollars can be better spent on other items."

Mario Chicas, account representative 

"My children enjoy parks as much as other families. We have many, many parks with amenities—Desert Sky and Gilbert Regional to name a couple. Those two parks the council is going to ask the residents of Gilbert for $273 million to be exact, and that is just too much with the other priorities we have, like infrastructure and roads. The town does not have a good track record of running such amenities, for example, Cactus Yards."

Michael Clark, president of Digital Illustrations LLC & AW Sales LLC 

"I will listen to our town manager and Parks and Recreation for ideas. Creativity and development is their wheelhouse. I want to be in awe of what they present. Paying for most everything relies on a good tax base. Maintaining and developing our Gilbert-based companies is the responsibility of the town. Supporting these companies is the responsibility or our residents, visitors and other customers using the products and services domestic and international."

Yung Koprowski, civil engineer, council member

"One-third of our town’s population are children. Our exceptional community amenities, including parks, are integral to our quality of life. Investments toward our town parks, which include the extensive trail system, are paid through system development fees and GO bonds. As new developments are built, it is appropriate for those developments to help in developing amenities that those new residents and users can enjoy. Investments toward our town parks should also be achieved through public-private partnerships."

Bus Obayomi, management consultant

"We must keep up with Gilbert’s growth. One of the significant challenges of modern cities is having overall amenities to sustain the change. The town has done an excellent job of maintaining the town this far. We do have a responsibility to continue to have gold-standard infrastructure. Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states in the country. Our population has grown by more than two million people in the past 20 years. We must continue investing in our infrastructure to avoid future gridlocks confronting cities like Scottsdale. Infrastructure includes having gold-standard parks and recreations and various centers in our town to continue to support families."

Scott September, regional manager, council member

"Gilbert’s policy and almost every other city’s policy is that growth pays for growth through system development fees. Costs never go down and some costs never go away. After the initial build-out of infrastructure, like parks, maintenance costs are covered through the town’s general fund and major redevelopment of infrastructure, like roads, through bonds. Striking a balance between these two is critical for sustaining Gilbert’s long-term success."

Bill Spence, retired U.S. Navy nuclear engineering officer

"Access to Gilbert’s parks was one of the most requested items from residents during the pandemic. I think that the town has developed a solid plan for the use of our parks and facilities. While I personally would like to see more sand volleyball courts, the town has done exceptionally well to meet the requests of residents in a cost-effective manner. There is a positive effect on housing values and business prosperity, as well as an immeasurable impact on our quality of life."

Jim Torgeson, owner Mesa Sign Shop

"Having community amenities is fantastic, but we are going too far. For instance, Cactus Yards is poorly designed, poorly negotiated and poorly placed. An abysmal failure the town reacquired control over in a lawsuit. Barry Bonds didn't become the greatest of his era because of a park like that, but he did have ball fields available. Let's make sure kids have parks, but let's not try to be the primary entertainment source for residents. If you have a partnership, it needs to truly be a win for all residents or don't do it."

Gilbert elections, Gilbert Town Council, Chuck Bongiovanni, Bobbi Buchli, Mario Chicas, Michael Clark, Yung Koprowski, Bus Obayomi, Scott September, Bill Spence, Jim Torgeson