Garner: Opinion

Editorial: Cleveland’s needs merit support

The pictures were startling. Crowds of children and parents filled our camera lenses at this year’s celebration for Greater Cleveland Athletic Association’s opening day. Not just in one picture, mind you. But in photo after photo.

Now the leaders of that organization have gone to county commissioners hoping to convince them to provide financial support for a program that, over time, touches thousands of Johnston County residents.

They’ve asked commissioners to release some of the funds the county has collected for years as part of a perk for developers who are let off the hook for meeting their responsibilities to provide open space for the residents who will eventually live in the homes they develop. To their credit, commissioners seem willing to do that.

Tax money, in any form. serves people. In some cases, it serves too few people and draws the ire of those who receive nothing. In most cases, though, those who hold the purse strings look for ways to spend money that serves the most people in a positive way.

And therein lies the argument for supporting the request the GCAA says it will soon put before commissioners. The Cleveland community operates youth sports programming without the benefit of a municipal parks and recreation department to organize the effort and pay for the biggest part of the expenses involved in such an endeavour.

But there are bajillions of people living in the greater Cleveland community, many of them with young families that take part in the programs established by the Greater Cleveland Athletic Association. Support from the county helps the GCAA provide a better program and it opens the program up to serve even more people, And, in case no one’s noticed, the growth-stopping recession seems to have ended and growth is likely to resume. Cleveland’s geographic location makes it a prime target for future growth, just as it was prior to the dip in the economy.

If commissioners want to spend the public’s money in a way that impacts the most people in the most efficient way, they would do well to support the GCAA’s efforts to grow and expand.