To the Editor:
I read the Jan. 2 edition of the Waterbury Record and, according to the article about a community center, public money (state grants) has been spent and an architect was hired to come up with a design.
Among the arguments for a new building are:
1. The recreation department is using the Methodist church. Is the church going to kick them out?
2. The recreation department wants to have recreational volleyball and basketball games and self-defense classes. Isn’t the elementary school gym available? Is it booked up all summer and every night and weekend?
3. Storage space at the senior center has a dirt floor. Has anyone heard of pouring concrete?
4. A new space would be popular with people from out of town who are looking for a gym. What? Waterbury taxpayers are going to foot the bill so that out-of-staters can work out or practice Frisbee? There is Community Fitness behind the bike shop, a gym at the old state farm site, Crossfit, The Forge Gym, a pool at the Best Western, and more.
Don’t get me wrong. The kids and seniors should have the best opportunities that we can afford to provide but that doesn’t mean that we all can afford to be like Manchester, Vt., for example.
To seniors on Social Security and to the lower-paid store clerks, construction workers, restaurant servers and those in similar jobs, don’t just sit back and think there is nothing you can do. Call or write to the select board and municipal and planning officials and let them know that we need to make do with what we have.
We are not all financial executives, lawyers, doctors and others with large incomes. In recent memory, we paid our share of the sewer plant and Main Street reconstruction, and built two new fire stations that we desperately needed and new municipal offices.
We couldn’t afford our own police department to help keep us safe and control traffic, but now town officials want to spend $14 million on a town center? Just building the building won’t be the end of the spending either; then we will be told that “we need a staff member to oversee operations and book the use of the spaces.”
Next we will need someone to keep the place clean, another ongoing expense.
I have already been accused of being a premature naysayer about this and that’s OK. I am giving my opinion based on common sense. I have talked to a lot of other folks in Waterbury who feel the same way.
If there are so many people who want this and think it is an affordable project, let them get out their checkbooks.