Voss is Prone to Misinform

October 7, 2011

Winfield 411

Winfield’s riverwalk project has become a hot topic in local political circles as of late. Some have seized the opportunity to confuse the public about the project, giving false numbers and projections on the project. In recent days, some of the “Kill the Riverwalk” advocates have gone too far.

On September 28th, anti-Riverwalk advocate Randy Voss authored a post on the local political opinion blog Winfield 411, which has published anti-Riverwalk material for months now, titled “Breaking Riverwalk News!” Notice the exclamation point; Mr. Voss was excited about this piece of “news.”  What follows is an exact copy of the post.

———-BEGIN VOSS’S 411 POST———-

“Breaking Riverwalk News!”

September 29, 2011 11:00 am

By Randy Voss

I just found out from DuPage County Bikeways Plan Commission that it is highly unlikely that the path from Geneva Road through Winfield will happen anytime soon.

Apparently, they feel the trail leading to Winfield is a small trail and wouldn’t even be started until the larger trail going though Winfield Mounds is finished and that smaller trails are low priority.

DuPage County just received word this month that Winfield Mounds trail will not be funded and they will not re-apply for funding for another two years. I was also told the Winfield Riverwalk is “very low” on the list of funding with CMAQ grants or other resources.

DuPage County also said, if the trail doesn’t really have a destination at the end – its even lower priority. So, more than likely the Riverwalk Committee will not be getting any CMAQ grants for a looong time to come.

We are wasting our TIF money. It is a path to nowhere!! In the meantime, can we get our money back from the engineers?

I mentioned yesterday in a Winfield 411 piece that Central DuPage Hospital brings in 25-30,000 people a day and it may be more. If that many people travel in and out of Winfield’s Town Center and we can’t capture them for shopping or eating, how will a dead ended riverwalk do that? I guess someone owes us an explanation!

———-END VOSS’S 411 POST———-

Mr. Voss was correct; this is some very big news. However, Voss’s post seemed to be too opinionated to be trusted, so the source Voss claimed to have gotten this information from, DuPage County Trail Coordinator Daniel Thomas, was contacted to verify the statements.

Mr. Thomas responded publicly in the blog comments that “Mr. Voss was going to e-mail me to get written responses to his questions that would clarify information and the status of trail projects in Winfield. He failed to do that, so his previous blog may contain some misinformation.”

If Voss really wanted to represent his findings as news, the first thing that any half-decent reporter does is verify the statements of their sources. Judging by Mr. Thomas’s revelation, Mr. Voss didn’t find reporting accurate information to be worthwhile or important.

Mr. Thomas went on to state that “In the spring of 2011, the Village of Winfield and DuPage Forest Preserve District applied for Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant funds for the Winfield Mounds project … The project was rated by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) as worthy, but not recommended by the Transportation Committee for immediate funding in this cycle. However, it was placed on a “B” list and could potentially receive funding within this two year grant cycle. The Village, County, and FPD are attempting to move the project up from the “B” list and the final decision for funding awards will be made later this fall by CMAP. CMAQ will open up again to receive proposals in two years. Because they are focusing on getting funding now, it is unknown if the Village of FPD will apply for funds at that time; that will obviously be determined at a later time.”

Where Mr. Voss found the “facts” that “DuPage County just received word this month that Winfield Mounds trail will not be funded and they will not re-apply for funding for another two years” is unknown, but obviously not from the source he claimed. Mr. Thomas said that the project “could potentially receive funding within this two year grant cycle.” Voss’s statement contradicts Thomas’s own statement. Also, Thomas stated that he “works for neither of those organizations and cannot speak for them.” It appears that Mr. Voss did not understand this and failed to confirm the funding status with the Village or the Forest Preserve District.

Thomas also pointed out that “The Winfield Riverwalk group has not submitted an application to CMAQ, and therefore has never been ranked.” This is correct; the Riverwalk Committee did not submit a CMAQ application. The Village of Winfield and the Forest Preserve District submitted the application in a joint effort. Unfortunately, this seems to be another fact that Mr. Voss did not pick up in his research.

Thomas finished his statement by refuting Voss’s claims, stating “I believe viewing the riverwalk as a trail to nowhere is a short sighted misconception. It’s a linear recreational facility that compliments the suburban environment, businesses, non-motorized transportation network, and natural areas that comprise the Village of Winfield. I understand that many people reading this blog do not share this opinion, but spreading misinformation as fact only undermines a stance.”

While Mr. Thomas may have said, as Voss reported, that “If the trail doesn’t really have a destination at the end – its even lower priority,” judging by his statement in the previous paragraph, it does not appear that he classifies the Winfield Riverwalk as having no end destination.

What is truly unfortunate about this debacle is that this information was published to the internet without any fact-checking. The vast amount of incorrect and incendiary information put out about the Winfield Riverwalk has now been increased. While Mr. Voss can and should be held accountable for his incorrect information, the publisher of Winfield 411 cannot. The publisher of Winfield 411 hides behind smoke and mirrors, taking malicious pot shots at local officials and Village residents. There is no accountability for this individual who publishes incorrect or manipulated information on a regular basis. Winfield can never move forward when voters and citizens are consistently provided with misinformation.

About Positive on Winfield

Positive on Winfield is a blog with articles on local issues, local events, and local interests in Winfield, IL. Positive on Winfield is the blog website of the local civic action group, Winfield United for a Better Community.

View all posts by Positive on Winfield

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