The Department of Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations has become the object of the public’s ire since announcing yesterday that it had hired the architectural firm of Fleck + Stone to design the 2017 prognostication pad.
According to Park Police, officials at the department began receiving hate mail and threats shortly after their morning press conference, during which they introduced the firm’s chief architect Vadim Kobras, and discussed the size and style of the new pad.
“Within hours, the department received an onslaught of written [hate] material, which they reported to us. We immediately deployed officers to the scene and an investigation of the material is underway at our forensic laboratory,” Inspector Maurice Addax of the Specist and Hate Crimes Unit (SHCU) told the press this morning.
Police believe the negative reaction is due to the perceived expense involved in hiring the high-end firm, which is known for designing buildings of cultural import such as the Burrow Theatre and The Park Museum.
Perhaps in anticipation of that, members of the press received a fact sheet yesterday that outlined the costs of the prognostication pad and other accoutrements deemed necessary for the popular annual event. According to those figures, the cost of this year’s pad will be only slightly higher than last year’s.
Still, optics matter, says Park Finance Office head Valentina Abeja, whose last budget reduced the funds allotted to special events by two percent.
“If they’d asked me, I would have told them to hold off for a year or, at the very least, talk about the cost first. Animals who are struggling to make a living have a hard time understanding why we need a posh pad to celebrate Groundhog Day,” she said.