Recreation projects sound good, but nows not the time to incur cost

First Posted: 1/28/2009

Two projects came up for discussion Wednesday at the Mount Airy Parks and Recreation Commission.
Those were the potential expansion of the citys Emily B. Taylor Greenway, and the idea of adding bicycle lanes to some city roadways.
Both are excellent ideas. Unfortunately, both cost money, and this may not be the best time to pursue them.
The greenway is a wonderful recreational facility. As city Mayor Jack Loftis said, its difficult to pass by the greenway without seeing people out walking, jogging, or biking. If offers a safe, pleasant outdoor area for exercise for city residents and visitors, and the city should be commended for building and maintaining the facility.
The proposal of bicycle lanes is also a wonderful idea on several fronts. If we, as a society, are serious about ending dependency on foreign oil and about reducing carbon emissions, communities small and large need to look at doing things such as offering bicycle lanes for its residents.
Building such lanes also offers safety for those wishing to bicycle in Mount Airy whether as part of a daily work commute or simply for exercise and pleasure. Anyone can ride through the city now, but quite frankly there are some streets where a cyclist might be risking his or her life because of highway congestion and auto speeds.
The city, however, is struggling with its finances, as are many of its residents. This is not the time to be taking on additional expenses that are not absolutely necessary for the safety and immediate well-being of its citizens.
The Commission, for its part, decided to pursue fact gathering for the projects, which is appropriate. And the commission members discussed the potential for pursuing grant money for these projects. If the city can find grant money to fund such work, with no more than a nominal local match, then by all means the ideas should be pursued.
But, if grant money cant be found, we hope the projects will remain at the fact-finding stage, at least until the economy becomes stronger.

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