We may be in trouble before we start

Published 11:43 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2007

When I was young my parents taught me many valuable lessons. One of which was in order to prove your worthiness of something new or bigger than what you now have, you must take care of what you already have. I know this is not the norm today, but it has served me well both in my personal and professional business life.

I am concerned about the new recreation plan proposed by our mayor because of the above premise.

We have a small recreation facility now at Duncan Park (city) and a baseball field in Broadmore Subdivision (county). If these facilities serve as an example of how the city and county plan to maintain a new, bigger recreation complex, then we are in trouble before we start.

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The Duncan Park baseball parks are mowed by the city and trash is gathered from them. But the volunteer commissioners and private citizen coaches move dirt and the baseball league funded the new fence at the middle field. Coaches who are electricians help with the scoreboards, fix concession stands and repair press boxes. The wooden bleachers are old and cracked and starting to rot on all the baseball fields. Regular paint would have helped, as would replacing rusted bolts on the boards. But the city did not have the manpower or money to do that.

I place the American Flags on the flagpoles during league play and sprayed weed killer around the batting cages. Many other private citizens do much of the physical work at the baseball facilities.

The golf course looks nice and the grass is always cut, trash picked up and when tree limbs go down, they are removed quickly, that is the next possible day!

But I remember a time recently when two or three large oak limbs fell on the tennis courts and fence. It was over two months before that mess was cleaned up. Oh yes, didn’t someone tell me the mayor was an avid golfer!

The initial cost of the new, bigger complex is the tip of an iceberg so to speak. The regular maintenance cost of a bigger facility will, of course, be larger; has anyone planned ahead for that? If the city officials have a good, solid plan, it will be the first time that I can remember that the city officials have planned ahead.

One other life lesson my parents taught me was, “just because it is a good thing you still can’t have it if you can’t afford it.” Of course I was not buying it with other people’s tax money.

W. Byron Garrity Jr.

Natchez resident