I honestly don't know if I'm "for" or "against" a skate park in downtown Janesville. But I have noticed the heated debate over the issue on a recently posted story.
It seems, by the postings, that you either have to be "against kids" or "entitled to city funds like other projects". The posters so far, don't seem to find a lot of common ground in what is a much more emotionally charged issue than I expected.
Looking at the downsides, I expect that the $50,000 borrowing proposed in a time of looming city budget cuts and tax increases is not going over well. In that respect, I believe it to be a matter of principle. Posters who say the 50-grand isn't much are likely right. Outright, its just a dollar a citizen. But the borrowing seems irresponsible. If there is true community support for the project, one would suppose the money would be there. And a lot has been raised already by the dedicated volunteers. My question on this one is - couldn't the city loan the skate park the remainder of the funds needed to build the park with a planned payback as volunteers continue to fund raise?
Again, I don't have a strong feeling either way. I have seen the damage caused by skateboarders throughout the downtown. I'm not one to believe that this disrepect for other's property magically disappears when a park is built. And therefore, I believe that if a park is built, it cannot be left wide open 24/7 without supervision. I have not heard a staffing plan or costs involved there.
Overall, if there's a new activity that kids will participate in, getting off the couch and away from their computers and video games, it sounds like a good thing. I believe the issue is of the borrowing at this point in time and while I know the city can't get into the banking business, I have to wonder if maybe there is a local credit union, local bank or other entity that could underwrite the balance of the remainder needed to get the park going, and let the users continue their diligent work of fundraising and ultimately paying back such a loan.
Its just a thought I've had.