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Time to compromise

Posted: January 12, 2012 10:49 a.m.
Updated: January 13, 2012 5:00 a.m.

The Y or no Y debate has become combative. The City has stood fast, probably believing it has public support.  The opponents, including me, are just as steadfastly convinced we will win either in a referendum or a lawsuit, or both.

Rhetoric is becoming hostile, not only between the council and the residents but also between residents themselves. Residents have become apprehensive -- “I have a son in high school and I don’t want him to be harassed” or “My friends are against the Y. I am afraid to speak up.”

To put it mildly, this only hurts Camden and its wonderful people.

How about a compromise? Build at the Y site, but not the Y. 

Leaving aside finances for the moment, looking just at the presently proposed building, it will have major difficulties attracting tournaments. Two basketball courts with no spectator seating, to take just one example, will hardly help our community or attract tourists. So the opponents say.

On the other hand, there is a perceived need for more and better athletic facilities.

The solution many see is to build a new arena, a convention and recreation center to replace the Rhame Arena at the location proposed for the Y.

It will be a place to hold athletic events, tournaments, community events and shows like the Antique Show. It will have spectator seating. It will be affordable, answering so many of the critics who see the proposed Y as leading us down the road to insolvency. With a replacement for the Rhame, there will be no need to burden our families with membership and activity charges.

Let’s see if we can avoid further division, a lawsuit and the need for a citizens’ demand for a referendum.  Absent an agreed settlement, the results of a referendum and a lawsuit will leave us all divided and embittered.

Let compromise bring our community together.

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