To the editor,
I wish to respond to a recent letter to the paper regarding the pedestrian pathway currently being considered in our community. The letter offered a critical review of previous community projects and lists concerns regarding the financial burden the pathway leaves to the taxpayer. I won’t offer my opinion regarding previous city projects, and I don’t think my opinion on past city projects is relevant to the issues at hand. I do, though, wish to comment on the use of our community tax monies. The pathway infuses over $4 million of pedestrian infrastructure into our community with only a fraction of the amount coming from the community — less than 1/4 of the total funded investment on the city’s part. I would suggest that is well leveraged money and a good return on investment for the city.
We should all be concerned about our tax base. The truth is, this town hasn’t grown appreciably in the 27 years I’ve lived here nor has it shrunk. We’re holding our own, primarily because of the contracting towns around us. The entire Midwest and Great Plains are facing difficult years ahead. The regions and communities that will survive and thrive will do so because they’ll be able to attract new industry and commercial development. Part of that relies on the amenities a community can provide for its members.
I also wish to comment on the notion that the pathway would be used by only a fraction of the city’s population. I want to remind readers that the pathway includes a pedestrian bridge over US Highway 26. This bridge will provide the only safe pedestrian corridor across the highway between our public schools and our neighborhoods. It’s ridiculous that we would continue to make kids cross that busy highway when we have federal and state funds providing for a pedestrian bridge.