Why Not a Y?

In the midst of all that is currently going on in our county, it forces me to look to the more positive things for us. I am a “dreamer” of sorts and have for many years had visions of what Fairfield County could be. We stand at a threshold to do some incredible things and I see that as a role of the county delegation to assist in the progression of making Fairfield County a place where people will be knocking the doors down to come to work and play here.

The one item that I would like to bring attention to is that of the current county bond issue that “gifts” $500,000 to each council district. I must admit that I had a difficult time believing that this kind of money was being made available to each council member for development of recreational activities in their district. And yes, I have referred to this as Santa Claus money for each district. After all is said and done, and it is done that this money is going to be available, this can be a new opportunity for this county. I envision many things. One of them is an indoor pool where state/national swim competitions/meets could be held. Wheelchair confined children/adults would have access to water activities which would strengthen and improve health. The healthier a population is the less of a toll it takes on the costs of medical care. I also believe that swimming is a life-skill that all children should have. This kind of money could afford that. Build it so that they will come.

Imagine: $500,000 times seven districts equals $3.5 million. Now, imagine people with professional expertise designing recreational facilities/services in Fairfield County. I am talking about YMCAs. These folks have resources in place to design facilities/programs for communities throughout our county. If buildings are erected, they already have architectural designs in hand, have by-laws in place, they have the capacity for any and all sorts of resources in the way of people and revenue sources. They are community oriented and would solicit input from the community for specific needs. It is a “no-brainer” that this would create jobs for the communities where facilities would be located. Those currently working in our recreational facilities would not lose jobs. Will we need a building for each district? Probably not because The “Y” already knows how to transport and coordinate. They work closely with the school districts where they are located and with existing transit services. We don’t have to figure all of this out for them.

The first question to be raised will be the fees that are charged by The “Y.” With $3.5 million dollars, my suggestion would be to place a specified amount in a trust fund to assist those in the way of scholarships to families. This is very do-able.

I would suggest that you go in any direction from Fairfield County and you will find a YMCA facility. You will find it adds value to that community. It adds a sense of unity to that community. It instills values into children/youth that teach how a community can get along. Again, it promotes healthier lifestyles.

Industries and people will locate where there are positive things going on. After a lot of conversation at our state level, our school district is as competitive as any of our neighboring counties. That can no longer be used as an excuse for industry/people not locating here. It is also a known fact that other factors are considered when relocation occurs. Recreational facilities with a wide range of programs and community involvement in arts/music are other considering factors.

We have two wonderful recreational lakes, a well-known railroad museum, Carolina Adventure World which is more known throughout the U.S. than it is here in our county, and lastly, but more importantly, are the people in this county who genuinely care about one another. Have you ever thought why people who come for a while and then decide to stay? It is the genuineness of our people.

So . . . while we seem to be in a sort of shambles right now, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I see so much more in the way of positive things for this county that spans 600 square miles and claims 23,000 plus people.

I don’t have all the answers. I do have dreams and aspirations for our youth and young people in this county. This is a start to create a vision . . . for prosperity . . . for a healthier lifestyle and better quality of life for all of us. I have shared this vision for some years now. Senator Coleman and I have had extensive conversations about this and we want to do all we can to foster growth/prosperity for all of Fairfield’s people. Let us hear from you. If you think this is a good idea, take the idea and help move it forward. If you disagree, let us hear that too. Always know that I want to do the right thing.

As I close this note, I count it an honor and privilege to serve as Fairfield County’s representative in The House.