There was a meeting regarding Memorial Pool/Park this past week. I believe we are overlooking and underutilizing a big resource in the city, that being the tax exempt entities. I am in no way saying they should foot the bill. But every aspect of this project is offered as a Major at Lycoming College, Penn Tech and Newport Business. From design and planning, construction/maintenance, landscaping/beautifying to daily operations and management.
This would not have to be exclusive for the park project, which leads to the next phase involving all tax-exempt entities, a citywide, comprehensive, self-sustaining youth program. "How" you ask? Individually all our churches and other organizations do what they can, when they can for whom they can. Combined, they become greater than the sum of the parts.
Empty or underused churches and their satellite buildings are spread across the city. These would be satellite centers for the "umbrella" program enabling easy access for all kids throughout the city...an in-lieu of taxes donation by these entities. The program itself would be structured, monitored and run by the young adults pursuing degrees in related fields.
Finally the final phase, public buy-in. Our area is teaming with artisans, craftsmen, professionals, businessmen, clubs and organizations, along with a pretty darn good bunch of people living here. Approached right, since nothing is forced through taxation, I truly believe donations of skills, expertise/experience and money would be more the norm than the exception. Projects of this scope and magnitude would look great in any graduate's portfolio or resume' and it would leave behind them a legacy to their host city.
I believe we have an opportunity to set an example as the city with the best comprehensive, self-sustaining, tax free youth program in the nation.
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom