Whatever happened to the idea of building a community youth center or a public multipurpose facility in Brookings?
The interest and desire in the community remain (one of the most common complaints is "there's nothing for kids to do"), yet we are unaware of any current efforts to build a center.
Short history lesson: A community center has been in the city's general plan for the past 17 years with nothing to show for it. In 2005, the Brookings Parks and Recreation Commission set its sights on building one, but never realized the dream.
What does it take to make the dream a reality?
Past visions for a proposed community center call for a facility where young people and adults can enjoy athletic activities, do their homework and hang out in a safe environment with their peers. The facility also could be rented out for local and visiting artists (music, fine arts and theater). It would be a wonderful place to hold community events such as the Christmas Bazaar and Chocolate Festival.
Building and running a community center will be a difficult challenge and will require balancing the needs and wants of users versus the costs and realities of what's available. We are confident there are enough people out there willing to donate their time, money and supplies to make it happen.
You may recall that, in 2000, a majority of voters passed a $14 million Brookings school bond, agreeing to increase their property tax to improve conditions at our schools. Couldn't the same be done for a community center?
We urge the city to put the idea of a community center back on the agenda. And we encourage residents to participate in the process and support andndash; physically and financially andndash; any solid proposals to build one.
For now, any step forward to address such an obvious community need would be good news to us.