Letter: Aftermath of REEF deserves assessment
To the editor:
The recreational, educational, entertainment and family center, known as the REEF project, did not reach all its goals, but it did bring great focus on the needs of the communities that need targeting and investment from all community sectors.
Golden LEAF, and the philanthropic institutions and individuals putting money on the line brought knowledge, relationships and capacity to the table and are owed our gratitude for their support.
The project, however, does raise at least for me the question of when and how will we evaluate the investment of local public, private and philanthropic interest in the communities of greatest need. We just allowed $1 million of capital to leave our community.
How will we evaluate what could have been done by local government, the private sector and others to capture the good work and good will developed around this concept? How do we assess local government dollars and private dollars invested? How will we measure the contributions of local philanthropic dollars in this effort? How and when will we show more equity and commitment to the underdeveloped areas in our city and county? How will we bring balanced growth and opportunity to all parts of our city and county? How will we learn and move forward together bringing desired change we say we want? How can we preserve all the good will and effort, or will we use this outcome as yet another reason to be divided about the best interest and the future of our city and county?
I hope we will critically observe and evaluate ourselves and find the constructive lessons and incentives to move forward with a renewed commitment. If not REEF, then something that will contribute to the future we want for this city and county. I for one know that we don’t have a choice. The future will be only what we make it.