Norton: DC Ranch site plan makes way for Great Hearts sports complex

Once again city staff and some city council members conspire to hide the truth from votes and even from our own Scottsdale City Council members.

Mike Norton

Hidden within the consent agenda for the council meeting of Tuesday, April 4 lies a seemingly innocuous reference to the “DC Ranch Park Municipal Use Master Site Plan” Item number 7. It references “development of a 12.8+/- acre DC Ranch park site”.

But, this is not the “DC Ranch Park.” This is the Great Hearts Academies Sports Complex.

But you carefully avoided any mention of that little annoying fact so that hopefully the citizenry of the city would sleep through the consent agenda and $20 Million of city property would land in the laps of a charter school owned by a for profit corporation.

The concealment was so well handled that one council member has told me that he was given “the impression that this was DC Ranch Land, not the city’s, and whether DC Ranch or Great Hearts built the park facilities it was always in the agreement that the city would maintain it.” Not true. Who told him that and why did you mislead a city council member?

Another council member told me that council members were told that “many DC Ranch residents’ children attend Great Hearts” and “DC Ranch residents are good with this and have been actively working with the school (Great Hearts) and the city to make it … work.” Also not true. And why did you mislead this city council member?

The truth is that many DC Ranch community members are furious about this project. A crowd showed up at a recent DC Ranch Community meeting to protest this project. It is absurd that city council members would be misled to believe that this should be a “simple consent agenda item” that is supported by the community while also not telling that the city owns this land — not DC Ranch.

This project must be disclosed in full to the entire city as well as our city council members. Remove it from the consent agenda. Disclose the details and the truth about the nature of the project. Quit hiding your real intentions and plots.
Two more questions:

•IS THE CITY SUBSIDIZING CHARTER SCHOOLS: our city has just voted twice by wide margins to support our Scottsdale public schools. The M&O Override and the $229 Million school construction bond passed with great support. Why would the city step in to the hotly debated political fray by subsidizing the charter Schools that endanger our public schools by pulling more enrollment away from them? The city has no business in this political matter.

•LIES ABOUT CAPITAL FUNDS: you tell voters that the city has the ability to raise $65 Million or more to build the Desert Discovery Center — which many of us deplore — while you simultaneously tell us you can’t find $3.5 Million to improve a 12.5-acre park — which most of us would love to see built. One of these stories is a lie. Which is it? I suspect that I know already, as do the overwhelming majority of voters.

Editor’s note: Mr. Norton is a resident of the city of Scottsdale

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