I would like to make a few comments about the community center that everyone is talking about. I believe it is my job as a council member to listen to our citizens and support or not support things after giving thought to the matter.
Sometimes that is hard to do because people have a variety of ideas and opinions about things.
When talking about the community center it has not been hard to decide whether to support it or not. The only people who have talked to me that are positive are people on the committee.
I have had people talk to me in the grocery stores, restaurants, on the streets, on the phone, at Maplecrest County Club and at church.
Not one of those people were in favor of the center. Many pointed out that there are wants and needs and this is a want. By some people, it is not a need. We have empty houses all over town. At this time in Goshen, why would we want to build a center that is not needed, that will raise everyone’s property taxes?
A couple of weeks ago I decided to talk to business owners in town about the center.
Out of the dozen I talked to, only one said she thought it would be good for Goshen, but she understood why people are concerned about the cost. The others were all against the center and some said they were barely keeping their heads above water now and could not handle any more unnecessary expenses.
Several people pointed out that the city has been giving tax breaks to encourage business to invest here and employ our citizens. We need to be concerned about getting our citizens back to work, making a living wage so they can stay in their homes and take care of their families. We are paying more for everything while many people are earning less than they earned five or 10 years ago, if they have a job.
Many are talking about the two fitness centers that just recently opened in town. Those people invested their own money, not someone else’s. Now the center, if built, would be built with tax money and would be in competition with all the other fitness centers in town. People that have invested their own money in our city.
Another thing people have been in complete agreement about on that have been talking to me is support for the schools’ needs. But those needs don’t need to be tied to a community center to fix.
Citizens have been quick to point out that they have a great deal of respect for the people on the community center commission.
People are more frequently telling me they don’t understand why this committee is continuing to push for the center when we don’t need it and the citizens of Goshen can’t afford it.
We don’t have a choice about buying goods we have to have but we do have a choice about building a community center.
— Dixie Robinson is the District 3 representative on the Goshen City Council.