JLF Western N.C. Blog

I Have a Recreation Complex

The local veterinarian hospital has the slogan, “You work . . . I’ll play.” Sound familiar?

I had a conversation with a friend in the Dollar Store this evening. It is one of about three stores that remain open in a shopping complex. Yes, electronic sales are reducing the need for retail outlets, but we both thought there was more to the story. A recent email from Children First said half of children in Buncombe County receive free or reduced-rate school lunches. Breakfast is now universally provided. The overlap was not defined, but a quarter of children in Buncombe County are food insecure. My friend agreed with me that a generation ago, it would be an odd mother that put anything before feeding her children.

It is amazing the number of comments I hear anymore from people I know. They have no food, they only have bread from ABCCM until the thirteenth when food stamps come, etc. Jobs are supposed to be booming, but meaningful employment is scarce. When I was unemployed, it seemed I put in three hundred applications. I finally had to take an offer, but my talents and training are atrophying, as I feel drained after doing nothing for ten or eleven hours. There are lots of jobs for passing paper around. Look at all the tax preparation places. Taxes are good by today’s economic standards because they create a lot of jobs.

Not far away, in Macon County, Commissioner Ron Haven is questioning the wisdom behind building of a $5 million recreation complex. Kids can’t play in fields anymore. Somebody might sue if they don’t have official-type dirt on the baselines. Haven didn’t mind too much when the camel only asked the commissioners if he could put $1.1 million of his nose in the door. Seeing the price of the full buildout, Haven supposed it might be more humane to allow a few people to continue to buy their groceries at the Dollar Store than to tax that away from them, too.

Oh, but making an expensive recreation complex will create jobs. I wondered how many jobs were created to construct the obnoxious curbing lining a tiny swabs of grass at the new Livingston Street Recreation Center I was steering around today. Somehow, this paradigm of repairing the economy with make-work isn’t working.

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