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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : sports : local August 01, 2014

4/26/2012 11:36:00 PM
'My Point'
Column: Public sports facilities increase quality of life for local residents
Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 35 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@q.com.

Chris Howard
Courier Columnist

A city or county may feel and know that quality of life issues within their main population areas are important to consider, plan for, sometimes build and help maintain, but footing the entire bill forever probably isn't a good solution.

Many comments have been made in this newspaper about why tax dollars are going toward something I'll never use, like a park, a trail, a baseball field, golf course, tennis courts, dog park, etc.

The basic government services such as roads, water, infrastructure, police and fire protection, lower and higher education, and probably library services don't raise eyebrows as long as they are budgeted for conservatively and kept in good working order.

It's the next list of services, facilities and costs that are sometimes highly debated.

Medical and health care services effect us all. Bringing good jobs into the region that create tax dollars seem to make sense and parks and recreation facilities have a place - but to what degree? What about the arts? And then there are many other projects that are near and dear to someone's heart that at least small groups feel the community as a whole should help out with.

But the money only stretches so far, and you can't be everything to everyone even though many politicians might make you think differently when they speak to each individual group.

During good economic times it's easy to add amenities that may be considered unnecessary, but are still approved. The problem begins when it comes to maintaining and then replacing those capital improvements when their useful life has run its course. And it's doubly so when times are not so fruitful.

Has any money been put aside? Are we now stealing from Peter to give to Paul, leaving Peter and his project in dire straits?

During the down times budgets tighten up, the tax dollars go where they have to first and that means there's less or no money to keep up things that were more or less niceties.

All of that means trouble for everyone who has cards in the game.

Did it have to go that way? In my mind the answer is no.

When a public recreational facility is being planned, a whole list of questions must be answered before the first shovel of dirt starts the project in hard dollars.

What's the cost and how will it be used? Who will be running it? Is there a flow of money to cover the day-to-day expenses and then some? Will it bring outside dollars in to the community promoting special events? These are just a few questions that need to be answered.

The free ride seems to be over, but that doesn't mean we can't have the special amenities that we've become used to. It does mean we have to pitch in more in a variety of ways.

Volunteerism, fundraising, reasonable and sufficient user fees, along with more care, planning and responsibility for what we build, organize and manage.

All of these types of actions and resolutions will help keep our quality of life, recreationally and otherwise more adaptable and flexible in a full cycle of economic times.

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