Letter: More options than Zene Street

Jan. 29, 2013 @ 03:09 PM

To the Editor:

Our local governments do not maintain or use many taxpayer owned properties in the downtown area so why should we seek the money to rehab an old warehouse on Zene Street? Who will be responsible for maintaining, and sustaining the facility down the road? After the $700,000 from the Golden LEAF is gone, what then?

It is also a fact that REEF, the Recreation, Education, Economic and Family Center, will be a duplication of services since taxpayers already pay for a recreation department, schools and community colleges, Kerr-Tar and commerce, and we support churches and social programs.

Many of the ideas proposed for the use of the warehouse are very commendable, but we could offer the same programs in the buildings we already neglect and within programs we already fund.

Recreation classes in art, music, and dance classes could be held in the large space that used to house the City Hall adjoining our historic fire station. Classrooms could easily be established and at night those same rooms could be used for counseling services proposed by REEF.

The ABC store on William Street would be a great location for a laundromat with a kid’s kitchen and the side yard is suitable for an open farmer’s market and a tricycle trail or play area for special needs kids or a place to hold bicycle repair clinics.

In conjunction with a train station at the First National Bank, many ethnic food deli stands could be housed. And, while the Armory is a little out of downtown with the children at E.M. Rollins, that facility could be a wonderful gym for indoor soccer, jump roping or any number of indoor athletic activities including archery.

Other communities know how to re-use properties and put them to work for the public. It really seems we lack the vision, the vitality and the variety of ideas to invest and use our resources the best way.

Elissa P. Yount