EDITOR: Marby Lee’s column in the March 18 Times claims that the
new Community Center is not for ordinary folk. Now I do not know
Ms. Lee, but I stand second to none in my ordinariness and I
Marby Lee’s column in the March 18 Times claims that the new Community Center is not for ordinary folk. Now I do not know Ms. Lee, but I stand second to none in my ordinariness and I strongly disagree.
Ms. Lee raises several points in her argument. To start, there isn’t enough parking for a maximum crowd at the facility. True, but is that a real problem? Real estate is a finite resource, and it would be foolish to have wasted parking space in reserve for those few events that would require it. There are few public facilities of any kind that maintain this kind of parking in reserve.
Dogs aren’t allowed? I agree that this is unfortunate, but I do appreciate that there won’t be any doggy surprises in the lawn and play areas. Yes, I know that you wouldn’t allow that, but they might, and I know that those others just don’t care.
It doesn’t include a Senior Center? OK, now here we’re talkin’ about my generation, so this hits home. (Although I prefer Geezer to Senior – I’m pretty politically incorrect.) We certainly do need one, but it hasn’t been in the plans for this site for quite some time and, in my opinion, would have overcrowded the available land had it been included.
As far as I know the property for a center has been acquired but the project itself is stalled. Let’s push our leaders to get going on that rather than blame another project.
Finally, there is the matter of fees. Remember that the RDA funds which built the Center cannot be used for its operation. If we don’t want to divert funds from an already strained city budget to cover operating expenses, the Center must be self supporting. That isn’t cheap. The lower fees for nonprofit groups should help, but if it doesn’t pay its way it will soon degenerate into a poorly maintained eyesore.
Why the negativity about a facility that is an outstanding addition to the community? I don’t think it’s perfect, and my list of quibbles is much longer than Ms Lee’s. So what? I can always find fault with anything, including me, but in this case I would much rather celebrate the truly wonderful aspects.
It’s beautiful. The interior spaces are varied, and the architectural detail well designed and executed. The theater is a delight, far above my modest expectations. The outdoor space is just outstanding and I can’t wait to see the amphitheater put to use.
And then there’s that fantastic interactive fountain (What enemy of the English language invented ‘water feature’?). Come on out on a warm day and watch the kids playing in it. I’ll be the one with the scraggly white beard and the big grin.