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All aspects of Y sports project are wrong

Posted: February 21, 2012 10:37 a.m.
Updated: February 22, 2012 5:00 a.m.

I am writing this letter as a concerned resident, taxpayer and homeowner of the City of Camden. This letter in no way reflects the interests of any group(s), and is purely informational.

Much has been said, both good and bad about the “proposed YMCA sports complex” that our city fathers would like to see built. It has, in more ways than one, divided our city, and our people and even the true goals of Camden.

Just look around the state of South Carolina. Business is moving into South Carolina for all the right reasons. Our location is one key factor, but there are many other key reasons tied into the move south. While we are pondering the YMCA sports complex, major corporations are signing big deals with our very close neighbors. These include Boeing, Bridgestone, Michelin, Heinz Foods, Amazon and others building plants in our state, creating jobs with great benefits. The only thing city hall can come up with is a replication of many of the things we already have in place, and being run by taxpaying residents of Camden. And, they are selling it under the false pretense of creating jobs and bringing tourists into Camden. Not a chance! And using the hospitality tax to finance all or part of this project is also wrong.

My second major concern, as I have stated in the past, is the use of tax dollars to support a religious-based, not-for-profit organization, the Young Men’s (Women’s) Christian Association. I firmly believe that if the city, and or county, would like to build and manage a facility, many people against this idea would sway into a more favorable position.

I have recently had a talk with a friend of mine who lives in Traverse City, Mich. When I mentioned that our city wanted to build a complex for the YMCA to run, she said “What!!” I tried to explain the concept, if anyone can, and she laughed. Alex told me that the YMCA in Traverse City has a plan, initiated in 2003, to build a complex with three recreational and competitive pools, and six tennis courts, and many other amenities. The YMCA in 2003 commissioned its own $18,000 feasibility study which it paid for! Furthermore, just this past January, the Traverse City Bay YMCA met its $12 million fundraising goal. I almost fell out of my chair. Why are we taxpayers being played as fools? Why isn’t the Columbia YMCA paying for the feasibility study? Why is it not paying for the architectural work? Why is it not going to pay for the building of its YMCA? If anyone out there can answer these questions, please do!

I don’t think that anyone opposing this is against the children of Camden, or their ability to have recreation services. I believe people are more concerned over the city financing another major project, with no future growth to support such great spending in our small town. At the latest council meeting, there were many congratulations going around over the re-financing of city debt at a lesser interest rate, saving the taxpayers some $500,000! Sounds great, but any of you that have financed debt before would know, that comes over a longer term, and at a higher cost over the long haul. While our bond rating is still good for now, when you throw in the $36 million sewer project, the re-lighting of downtown, the YMCA and other projects, this will not last. And all of this, if you were to believe those on the council, at no increase of taxes!

In closing, I would ask the city manager, the mayor and members of council to sit down with me, and show me how I can procure and spend just $50,000 on my kitchen, and no cost to myself or others.


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