Letter: ‘Shop local’ doesn’t apply to rec board?

Dear Editor:

I read with great interest the article in the March 29 issue of the Herald Times about a trail expansion of the China Wall trail system. This project is managed and overseen by the Meeker Recreation and Parks Board of Directors. The project is being funded by several grants totaling $143,750. There were a total of five bids submitted for the project—two were local contractors and three were out of town contractors.

Every year in Meeker all you hear about is “shop local.” Well, the board of directors apparently didn’t get that memo when then awarded the bid to a company from Arkansas. What happened to “shop local”? Each person on the board should be ashamed of themselves. From looking at the list of directors I see that each director (except maybe for Kent Walter) has a long history in Meeker. With this long association in Meeker you would think each director would understand and support the idea of “shop local.” Now I understand that if the two local contractors (who were the lowest bidders) were new to the business or the board had never seen their work, then they shouldn’t get the bid. But I know for a fact that T and M Contracting (the lowest bid) has done work on all the local parks that the recreation district manages and his work has been exceptional. The other contractor I am not familiar with.

I challenge each member of the board of directors to submit a letter to the editor explaining how they ignored the “shop local” concept when awarding the bid. The next time a local business owner tells me to “shop local”—I’m going to encouraged them to talk to the Recreation and Park District’s Board of Directors.

Claude Wood

Meeker