Don’t Be A Grumpy Old Penny Pincher-Let’s Build Parks
Your parents, grandparents and their ancestors made sacrifices for you. They built roads, bridges and community centers. Now certain elements of our society are no longer willing to sacrifice for the common good. You need to realize that this is going to have a direct impact on your kids and their grand-kids. More after the jump.
When was the last time that Lubbock built a public pool? Has your kids library changed since the 70's? Can your kid skate down the sidewalk without hitting a crack? All of these things are because we have forgotten a message around here. Instead of "no more government waste" we no just say "no more" and that is very bad thing.
There is nothing worse in this world than a bored kid (or even adult). Its kids without opportunities and options that get into drugs and criminal behavior (yes, I'm speaking from experience). When a kids sees everything around him turning to crap, he assumes that's all he's worth and that IS the message your sending that child.
Meanwhile, parents and businesses flock to towns where they believe in quality of life issues. Did you know Google is plumbing the ENTIRE city of Austin with fiber optics that are 100 times faster than broadband? Yes, the town in Texas more concerned with public works than any other town gets another "win". Because Austin invests in Austin, other people invest in Austin.
In Lubbock our attitude is "let somebody else do it". What do we get for this attitude? Well you have wealthy private interests building their own entertainment options with little to no thought for your kids. Before too long, a kid won't be able to go swimming without a gym membership. A whole new group of third class citizens are being created and we're to blame.
Our first step in turning this around is being known for "something and that "something" could be "anything". My suggestion is simple: parks. Yes, I'd love to see some real, built from the ground up city owned entertainment facilities, but if I'm being honest I'd start with parks.
Do you know what teenagers call Lubbock? They call it "The Dirt City". Does it make you proud to know you live in "The Dirt City"? Parks take away some of that dirt. They make for cleaner air and more recreational opportunities. They don't have to be all grass and big water bills either. In fact, having just grass parks is party of the current problem. I would have basketball parks, skate parks and most importantly parks with splash pads. You might say, "kids don't want parks these days", but you're thinking of certain age groups that aren't being serviced by today's parks. Most parks in Lubbock have a play area for small kids and that's it. The park near where I grew up had a building where you could check out a basketball, volleyball or some other type of older kid/teenager athletic equipment. We were there practically every day. When we got older, we took our dirt bikes to the small man made mountain they had on site. When we became teenagers we played football on the grounds or went and watched the baseball leagues play in the back. Lubbock already stresses athletics to a huge degree, more parks would be a natural extension and a great way for the city to grow. The bigger parks should have full slates of park activities and an adult on duty for supervision (not babysitting, but management of park equipment and facilities). Imagine if we could change the name of Lubbock from "Dirt City" to "Park City". That would be worth every single penny we could afford.
To wrap this up, It took a bit of a left turn here and went from the big picture to a specific need. The point is, you can suck it up and invest in your kids future or you're going to double the burden they're going to have of investing in their kids future. If patterns like this continue it won't be too long before everything will get so run down there will be no chance of catching up. It's not just parks either, it's time to say yes to better roads, better schools and better quality of life options. If we invest in Lubbock, others will too.