Posted by: ppernick | October 30, 2008

Torn

I still have to submit my ballot for this election and the big issue for Snoqualmie is the Community Center.

And I’m still torn on how to vote.

On the one hand, I think this is probably the best opportunity Snoqualmie has to get a much needed community center in the neighborhood.  The sense of pride and unity as a community would be wonderful.  There’s definitely a need for the building facilities and programs for families and kids of all ages that would be available for use.

Reading the Yahoo! group for the neighborhood there appears to be three main issues: more taxes in a troubled economy and the feeling that it would be a glorified fitness center, and the appearance of competition with other neighborhood businesses.

More taxes:  Yes, this could be hard for those already struggling to keep up with other taxes, inflation and a recession.  Especially when you consider there would be additional fees to use the facilities and/or become members. But, it sounds like there are programs being considered to help those in financial need and personally, I think the long-range benefits of a community center outweigh the cost.

Glorified fitness center:  As a couple of people have posted on the Yahoo! group, the community center would offer much more than just a fitness center. Sure, there’s a basic weight room and pool, but there would also be community events, meeting rooms, teen programs, family programs, and daycare/babysitting facilities.  On top of that, it will be a few feet from the already overcrowded elementary school – potential use for after school activities or even additional classroom space.

Competition with existing businesses:  The weight room would potentially take away from the health club, but otherwise I know of no other business (or businesses) that truly offer any of the other options I noted above.

So what’s my problem?  Why am I torn?  It would be a YMCA. 

It’s probably not fair for that to be my issue.  It’s completely emotional, especially when you consider I don’t have any personal experience with YMCA. I’m sure YMCAs are wonderful. However, I am reluctant when, as a Jew, I see on the YMCA home page that their mission is “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.”

In the end, I’ll probably vote yes (in fact writing this out has probably helped me come to that conclusion). 

I think the community desperately needs a community center and I think this is probably the best chance we’ve got for something affordable.  Looking at the history from the YMCA web site, they have proven time and again to be above stereotypical (most notably race and gender) lines – and it’s probably the community that defines the programs and teachings offered. I’m sure the day I finally decide to make an impact in the Jewish community of my neighborhood and organize something (be it a holiday celebration or family service), I will be welcomed with a warm smile.

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