Some Garland residents upset over armory demolition

Many complain that government moves too slowly, but some people in Garland say their government moved way too fast to knock down an old armory.

Three weeks ago, the Garland City Council voted to demolish the closed down armory and build a skate park on the site. Now, only the foundation is left.

"We all asked them over and over, why the rush, why now, no one could answer,” said resident Deborah Morris.

The original cost to demolish the 36,000 square foot building came in at $120,000, an amount that would have required a public bid process. Instead, the city council decided to leave the foundation. That brought the cost down to $47,000 -- just under the $50,000 threshold to require a bid.

Morris has lived in Garland 35 years. She lives near the park and didn't find out about the plan to demolish the armory until after the city council approved it.

“People all over town are livid,” Morris said. “Our councilwoman who used to notify us when something was going on hadn't notified any of us.”

Morris is now leading an effort to recall that councilwoman, Anita Gobel. She's collected 300 of the 800 signatures needed.

"The city council are charged with representing the people of Garland, and they didn't,” Morris said.

The mayor of Garland, who voted against the demolition of the armory, announced his resignation after the council's decision. Parks board member Sharon Carstens also resigned in protest.

"I knew at that point as long as this council was seated, park board's hands were tied and we wouldn't be able to do our job,” Carstens said. "They already had their minds made up, they didn't care what anyone said, they were going to bulldoze it."

City councilman Rich Aubin dismissed the claims and said the job was not sped up to avoid the bid process. He said officials thought the skate park might be able to use the foundation.

When asked about the rush, Aubin said the dog park and skate park were approved by voters 13 years ago and it’s time to get things done.

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