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Race not a factor in sports facility debate

Posted: March 6, 2012 9:30 a.m.
Updated: March 7, 2012 5:00 a.m.

I have been neutral in the YMCA debate and I'm trying to stay that way. There are merits on both sides (we think), but when a member of Camden City Council pulls the race card, I will not be quiet. This planned or unplanned sports complex has nothing to do with race. It is insulting that a member of city council could even bring race into the debate.

This is all about the use of our hospitality tax dollars, and whether we agree with the proposal that has been presented to us. I have been going to a sports facility here in the Camden city limits on Tuesday evenings once in a while to watch friends of all races enjoying themselves. It has plenty of street parking, is well lighted and maintained inside and out, is heated and cooled, and thanks to Mr. "Shame on You," it's smoke free. There are over a dozen arcade games of all kinds, pool tables and a snack bar that serves everything from candy to pizza. When you walked through the doors you will notice kids playing the games, young adults playing pool, and sometimes more spectators than participants. Sadly Camden Bowl closed Feb. 19 due to lack of participation from the residents of Kershaw County. They couldn't even break even. Which brings my question: If the county -- I didn't say city -- couldn't support a 12-lane bowling alley with the nice amenities mentioned above, how is the city so sure we can support a multi-million-dollar sports facility?

I also would like to mention that 20 years ago when the YMCA, which had relocated three times, closed and left with a $190,000 debt, gas was less than $1 a gallon. I sincerely believe that with gas going over $4 a gallon, we can't expect we will be able to depend on tournaments whether they be tennis, swimming, basketball or even bowling, to help with the expenses. I have cut way back on my driving, and I live here.

I'm climbing off my soapbox and hope we can come to some kind of conclusion to this. We are much too nice of an area and have many wonderful people to let this become the issue it has become. May God bless us all.

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