Why say ‘no’ when it’s fun to say ‘yes’

Published 12:47 am Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It’s fall again in Natchez. On Friday nights you can hear the roar of the crowds at the various high school football games. The nights are getting comfortably cool again. The hotels and churches are packed with weddings and their wedding parties.

However, something else is going on. It is election time. In this election there are eight candidates running for sheriff, but there is another item on the ballot. Down on the bottom, under the heavily hyped sheriff’s election you will find the following words:

“Do you favor the creation of a consolidated county-wide recreation program to be funded by a bond and/or other financial device in an amount to be determined but not to exceed $5,450,000?

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Yes ______ No _______

This referendum on the ballot runs without an opponent, but brings with it the potential for a great amount of good. This is our opportunity to step up as the electorate of Natchez and Adams County and say that we would like to build something that our children and our children’s children can benefit from for years and decades to come.

The election will come and go, and when it’s done we will have a new sheriff-elect who will hopefully serve our community with honor. However, if we vote “yes” to the referendum for recreation we are setting in motion a long-term enduring dedication not only to our children, but also to our own quality of life.

It is not just about quality of life though. A recreation program will bring revenue, not only in the form of sporting tournaments, but it is often a deciding factor when both people and industries are deciding to move to a new location.

Also, if done properly, it can employ many people from maintenance staff to program directors to marketing personnel.

Now there will certainly be nay sayers that scream about their taxes getting raised or the lack of focus on other city and county projects, and they are certainly entitled to their opinion and vote. However, recreation and tourism are big and beneficial industries. This is an industry that our city and county would own and control. That puts you and me as citizens in the driver’s seat.

If you don’t believe that recreation programs are effective or beneficial, then get on the Internet and search some of the surrounding cities. Look up “Laurel MS Parks & Rec” or “Southhaven MS parks and Rec.” You will find tons of information about tournaments they’ve hosted and new amenities they are adding.

Why are they adding these new items? Because their recreation efforts are working! If that still isn’t enough visit the open forum at 6 p.m. Oct. 19 at the convention center, and ask your questions in person.

The issue reminds me of the old Will Rogers quote, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

Let’s stay ahead of this train. Vote YES on Nov. 3.

Tate Hobdy is a Natchez resident and works at Stephens & Hobdy Insurance.