One Last Point: The house that Ruth built
Written by Jef Hatch, Pilot staff writer   
May 15, 2012 09:30 pm

 

Recently I read a post on a social media site that was requesting ideas for a Brookings recreation center.

This isn’t the first time that a request for ideas has gone out, and doesn’t seem to be the only such request circulating in our community.

In September of 2010 The Friends of the Brookings-Harbor Aquatic Center was formed as a non-profit organization, “ ... dedicated to the development of a sustainable community aquatic center to enhance access to year-round fitness and recreational programming that will promote wellness and improve quality of life for every member of our community regardless of age, fitness level, or physical capabilities.”

Of course, the FBHAC has gone far beyond just talking about the possibilities: They’ve formed a non-profit organization, complete with a board of directors, a website, a blog and a Facebook presence. 

I’ve also heard talk over the seven years I’ve been in Brookings of an event center that would house multiple stages on which the various theater groups in town could rehearse and perform.

I recently heard of another organization which is looking to promote the creation of a space where musicians in the area can rehearse and perform; and top-notch acts can be brought to Brookings for the benefit of all.

From my understanding, all of these places would also have space for artists to display their work. 

The ideas yielded through initial efforts by FBHAC included workout spaces and even an indoor track and a rock wall.

The most recent discussion I read included ideas already presented and didn’t add much to an already exhaustive set of ideas presented to the community.

What needs to happen now for the Brookings-Harbor community is to have all of these groups get together, pool their resources and build one massive edifice that would satisfy all demands.

I realize that there are personality conflicts that might need to be addressed among the leaders of the various faction – not everyone can be as widely loved as I – but if people truly want what is best for the community, they will sacrifice their own pride for the greater good.

I think that the FBHAC has a great start – planning an aquatic center that serves multiple needs – but let’s expand it.

Let us have a building that houses an aquatic facility, a real theater with false floors and plenty of headroom to allow the Phantom of the Opera to be performed with falling chandeliers and all, a space in which musicians and actors can rehearse, an indoor track, rock climbing facilities, a restaurant.

And of course, all the wall space can be dedicated to a constantly rotating art gallery featuring local artists.

Land might be a problem, but wouldn’t it make sense to put it out by where the college currently is?

Maybe not. It might be good to have it close enough to town that area youth can get there without being driven by parents.

The point is this: If we build it, they will come. 

If we have a top notch facility it will attract premiere musical and theater acts. It will also drive the quality and quantity of local productions up – not that there is anything wrong with local talent as it is; it will simply get better.

As the quality acts come, Brookings will become an event destination, and hotels and vacation rentals will be needed to house the droves; thus driving construction, thus driving the economy.

Eventually, we’ll have to build a superhighway from I-5 to the coast that will support all the traffic.

It will take a lot of money to build a facility that will meet the needs of so many, but if the approximately 14,000 people living in the 97415 zip code could donate $5 a month, for a year, we’d have $840,000 in seed money. 

I don’t know how many Ruths are living in Brookings, but I’m sure there are enough to call this behemoth the House That Ruth Built.