Paula Martins Jones Recreation Center, what next
April 20, 2015 at 4:17 p.m.
Today, I attended the hearing at Longview City Hall concerning the proposed transfer of the PMJ Recreation Center back to PMJ Charities for use by an organization that will use it to house their youth outreach and exercise programs, including a "crossfit" program. When asked specifically about the number of youth they could promise to serve, None of the reps could state that they could guarantee to do so.
The council chamber was full of Longview citizens, the majority of them senior citizens who use the facility as part of a medical procedure to fight the problems many have with various conditions as well as the effects of aging.
Also present was our currant Mayor, and 3 members of the city council. One of which was mayoral candidate Manley. The beginning of the meeting was handled by Mayor Dean who did his best to emphasize his belief is how well Longview was concerned with citizen input, and taking the time to repeatedly state that this was something the next city council and mayor would have to deal with despite the fact that it was on the agenda for the next meeting to be held on April 23,
By the time I left some 90 minutes later, it was obvious that two truths still hold. One, beware the wolf in sheep's clothing; and two, the love of money is the root of all evil. The reps from those wishing to obtain control of the facility used the issue to serving the youth of our community to attempt to make the seniors present feel that by opposing the measure, they would be standing in the way of the good these people could do. No where in the slickly produced presentation of their message did they include mention of the benefits that could occur if seniors were included in their program, not did they offer any ideas about how the wisdom and experience of these same seniors could be utilized to benefit the very youth they purported to serve. It was obvious from the very outset, despite later grudging concessions, that their total focus was on their program and had little, if any, interest is serving the seniors presently using the facility or who may wish to do so in the future. Those representing the city's interest appeared surprised when confronted with the fact that the city had done little to no publicity to reach our to seniors in Longview about the programs offered at the facility, but kept coming back the the continuing cost of the facility as well as the enormous cost it would incur on the city to upgrade the facility. A cost that coincided nicely with that put forward by the reps from the charity. To put it succinctly, and meaning no disrespect, it was all about the money and little else appeared to have been considered.
On Thursday next, our city council will vote on whether to transfer the PMJ Recreation Center to private ownership. Let's all hope that they have the foresight to table that proposal until more questions can be answered.