Recreation is about residents first

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 9, 2009

For dozens of communities across America, the smell of freshly cut grass, snow cones and maybe a little perspiration all blend into the aroma of money.

In communities large and small, recreation is big business. And many people have suggested that our area develop a new recreation complex for just such a purpose.

It’s true that a great recreation complex can become a money magnet of sorts, drawing out-of-town visitors to come to participate in tournaments ranging from baseball to soccer and from track to swimming.

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But we suggest that not be the prime motivator for considering a new recreation complex. Let’s focus on the quality of life for existing residents. Let’s make that become the first and most important reason why we build a new recreation center and the money from out-of-towners will just become icing on the cake.

Only when our community embraces the need to improve infrastructure beyond the “good enough” stage and set the bar higher will our community truly flourish to the fullest extent possible.

City and county leaders are currently considering a plan that would put the recreation question on the November ballot to simply gauge public interest in the project. We’d suggest doing so is a great idea, particularly since it will cost virtually nothing extra to add to the existing election.

But we also suggest the best way to get public support will be focusing on what the new facilities can do for our own residents first. The smell of money comes second, after the snow cone machine is fully operational.