See-saw rec attitude needs balance

Published 10:17 pm Saturday, July 28, 2007

Almost as if they were stuck in some mid-20th century time warp, Natchez-Adams County’s recreational facilities are at a standstill.

Our baseball fields are old, practice space is limited and parking can be a problem.

Each year, residents and city and county leaders lament the need for improved facilities; yet each year, we provide little serious effort to permanently fix the problems rather than just patch them.

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What we need is a plan for what to build, where to build and how to pay for it.

What we get each year is enough money to make minor repairs and “make due” with what we have already.

Several years ago, city, county and public school officials put their heads together and came close to turning wishes into a reality, but fear over the unknown prevented us from taking the leap of faith.

Somehow we find it easier to wistfully whimper about what we don’t have than put in the hard work required to get us there.

Communities with great recreational facilities didn’t get there by accident, luck or because they wrote a great grant application.

They got there because they put their heads together, agreed on a plan and put that plan into action, even if doing so meant some sacrifices.

City and county leaders must agree that any new money that comes to them — from gaming tax increases to higher-than-budgeted sales tax increases — will go directly to recreation funding. If that happens, nothing can stop us.

Our children deserve better than a fresh coat of paint on the old stuff on which their parents played.