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City, county should help finish skate park

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By Ben Carlson

That a kid on a skateboard was allegedly punched in the face and kicked by an adult shouldn't come as a shock to Anderson Countians.

Nor should it be a shock in the not-too-distant future when a skater is hit and killed by a vehicle.

After all, we, the adults of Anderson County, are the ones who collectively have ignored our children's pleas to build them a safe place to skateboard, away from traffic and bar-room bullies who allegedly assault them, as happened last Friday afternoon behind Main Street.

Granted, there has been considerable forward motion on getting a park built, thanks in large measure to youth minister Lee Yates from First Christian Church and a group of citizens who have taken it upon themselves to create something that our city and county governments should have built years ago.

Each entity is filled with elected representatives who have politicked in favor of such a facility. During interview after interview the vast majority of officials pandered to the citizens by saying they want a skate park built.

But, aside from a land donation from the fiscal court and a $1,000 donation from the city council, name one darn thing any of them currently in office have done to make the park a reality besides fret over insurance premiums and bicker who will fix what if and when it breaks.

No one is talking about millions of tax dollars to build a skate park. Instead, Yates and his group are talking thousands, most of which has been raised the old-fashioned way: by small fundraisers and private donations.

Yet our governing bodies can't see clear to finish the job by doing what is right and getting it done.

Yes, public money is tight right now as our city and county governments look for ways to cover escalating health insurance costs for public employees and deliver services for their growing populations.

But to think that, between the city and county, enough money can't be squeezed from their budgets to get the concrete for the park poured before snow flies is ridiculous.