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LETTER: Grand Park has been success

November 12, 2016

I am writing in response to the misleading article regarding Grand Park featured in the IBJ [Westfield’s Grand Park far from break-even, Nov. 7]. The fact is, this widely successful economic development project in Westfield is generating more than $300 million in economic activity for our region.

As one of the many supporters of Grand Park, I was disappointed with the negative tone and the inaccurate presentation of the numbers in the story.

In standard accounting practice, the capital expenditures are separated from the operating expenditures. To combine them ignores that capital expenditures are an investment in an asset, i.e. the property and facilities constructed at Grand Park.

The Grand Park operating account was negative $73,000 in 2015. The front page article states that Grand Park is “operating millions of dollars in the red... .” This is factually incorrect. Some specific numbers were also inaccurate that drastically impact the final totals. For example, the $946,000 grant funds shown as spent in 2015 were received as revenue in 2014. In the graphic, they are only accounted for as an expense without matching it to the relevant revenue.

The article also failed to highlight the true success of Grand Park in the amount of economic development that is already attributable to the city’s investment. Currently, $30 million in new development is under construction, $50 million has been approved through the planning process and an additional $150 million is in various stages of the application process. These numbers are impressive and speak for themselves as Grand Park was always envisioned to be an economic driver for Westfield.

For the city of Westfield, Grand Park is a long-term investment in our future and we believe the best is yet to come.•
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Westfield Mayor Andy Cook
 

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