South Bend $650,000 boombox criticized

NOW: South Bend $650,000 boombox criticized

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- The city of South Bend is investing approximately $50 million in improvements into shared public spaces through an initiative called My SB Parks & Trails. 

The latest purchase under that initiative is Boomer, a $650,000 dollar mobile experiential vehicle. That number is causing controversy in the community. 

“I think the more we can spend to get our kids outdoors and be active, be healthy in an outdoor environment, then that money is well invested," said South Bend resident, Joe Wolfing.

Using over half a million dollars to push kids to drop their electronics and small the fresh air is something one South Bend couple thinks is a waste of money. 

“I don’t think a boombox is the way to do it at all, you have to do it yourself. A boombox is not the thing," said Rosie Snyder.

“It may for a week or two or it will be an old thing. You see parks around the city and no kids are out there," said Ray Snyder.

That's why the South Bend Venue Parks and Arts department says it needs the new project. 

Those against it believe the money could be used elsewhere like education or potholes. 

In a blog post posted today by the department after we asked for comment they shared:

"Boomer is being made a reality with existing staff and existing financial resources.  This is to say, these funds would not have otherwise been spent on potholes, schools, or public safety.  Each of these are also important budgetary investments of their own, but they have very different funding sources."

Something one resident believes anyone against the initiative could've voiced their opinions on before the final vote if they'd been more engaged in the community.

“All those meetings are posted, all the minutes are posted. It’s actually becoming an engaged and active member in your community. If you’re not engaged, you're not part of the conversation," said Wolfing.

The vehicle is expected to have a ten year life expectancy.

You can expect to see and hear the music coming from the portable boombox towards the end of April..

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