To the editor:
YMCA /Event Center
I, like many of you, have been following this in the newspaper and offer my thoughts on the subject here.
As I recall it began with the unquestionable need for a new YMCA at a good location, adjacent to the city athletic park, the high school and PJC. It was to be privately owned, managed and operated by a specific religious organization and funded through private donations.
Further the school and college , GISD and PJC, respectively, administrations could contract with the nearby YMCA for their studentsto use their facilities, such as the swimming pool. That sounded like a good plan with a cost figure of about $7 million that this private organization would raise and then operate it as it has always done previously with no entanglements nor funding from GISD, PJC, and certainly none from our Greenville city government and subsequently our taxpayers.
Now it seems as though we are about to vote on a combined YMCA/Event Center at a cost of about $15 million. In other words, we the taxpayers are to fund a huge share of this overgrown adventure which has several faults. First, you don’t want government (even local) involved with a religious, and or, private organization. That just doesn’t work at any level. You must have separation of powers and interests.
Second, there is no need for an Event Center in Greenville, but if one should exist then the City of Greenville should fund and operate it independently. Third, the City experience on funding projects is not all that great. We funded the restoration of the bank building downtown, and I doubt that our investment has ever paid for itself. And finally, whenever you accept a new tax as this will be on everyone, they never seem to go away and, in fact, normally increase over the years .
What began as a good plan seems to have lost its way.