Paris mayor discusses planned development of Lake Crook

Mayor AJ Hashmi

Mayor AJ Hashmi

Paris Mayor AJ Hashmi gave an overview Monday night of the Paris City Council’s thoughts about future development of Lake Crook.

The mayor’s presentation followed several weeks of attacks by critics, led by Dr. Richard Swint, who have alleged the council has designs on selling Lake Crook to outside developers and possibly selling water from the lake. Swint said city leaders have a history of making bad decisions and what the council was planning for Lake Crook was another boondoggle in the making.

For more than a year, City of Paris planner Alan Efrussy has been developing plans for a systematic development of Lake Crook, including a portion of the property for resorts, residential and commercial development, in addition to recreation and other activities normally associated with a lake project.

As soon as Hashmi finished his presentation, the council proceeded to the next item on the agenda. It was a discussion item only — not an action item.

Following is the Power Point presentation the mayor gave Monday night regarding the City Council’s thoughts about future Lake Crook development:

LC Slide 01

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LC SLIDE 03LC SLIDE 04LC SLIDE 05LC SLIDE 06LC SLIDE 07LC SLIDE 08LC SLIDE 09LC SLIDE 10LC SLIDE 11LC SLIDE 12LC SLIDE 13LC SLIDE 14LC SLIDE 15LC SLIDE 16LC SLIDE 17LC SLIDE 18LC SLIDE 19LC SLIDE 20LC SLIDE 21In January, Swint and his wife made a $100,000 donation for development of the lake, which the council happily accepted, and the mayor announced he was adding a $10,000 donation of his own.

Afterward, Swint noted that he made the donation with the condition that Lake Crook Park be developed without paid architects, planners or developers. The city’s acceptance of the donation rules out bringing in outside developers, he said.

The council balked at that, and there was consideration for returning the Swints’ contribution. Hashmi said his understanding was that the Swints intended their donation to be used for park land development — not the entire Lake Crook project.

During three recent City Council meetings, Swint and his followers have addressed the council during Citizens Forum, pushing for a voice by citizens in the process. Any decision that would lead to outside development of Lake Crook should be put to a vote of the people, Swint said.

Hashmi has said he interpreted the Swints’ donation, and the conditions attached to it, referred to the part of Lake Crook that is planned for park development, not the entire lake property.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra

 

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Charles Richards Charles Richards moved to Paris in 2004 after retiring from a 40-year career in journalism – the last 26 years as a news writer and sports writer with The Associated Press in Dallas and Washington, D.C. In mid-2004, The Paris News coaxed him out of retirement, and he began covering the police, court and regional beat for The Paris News. Then in early 2005, he was switched to coverage of a sharply divided Paris City Council. He was appointed by the City Council in 2006 to the 12-member City Charter Review Commission, which extensively rewrote the outmoded document. His writing awards include two first-place awards in statewide competition for feature writing. The most recent was his 2005 story on a Paris doctor’s startling use of leeches in a successful attempt to re-attach a man’s severed ear. Over his career, Richards’ interview subjects include Alabama Gov. George Wallace, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, David Koresh, Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali and numerous other political and sports figures. He is an alumnus of Texas Tech, where he was editor of the school newspaper. He lives in Paris with his wife, Barbara, who is retired after 30 years as a teacher and high school counselor.