Letter to the Editor:Stop the Blaming Game

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Dear Alderman,

We need to stop the finger pointing and the blaming and take this as an opportunity to come together to create solutions. I propose that a committee is created that involves stakeholders to look at how current fields can be allocated, how to create the funding/grants needed to renovate our parks and identify new areas in the city that can be repurposed to gain additional playing space. This committee should consist of:

Two Aldermen, who can remain non-biased
Director of Parks & Open Spaces, Arn Franzen
Director of Recreation & Youth, Jill Lathan
DPW Commissioner, Stan Koty
Head of Athletics at SHS
Selected Coaches from Baseball, Football, and Soccer
A select group of parents, and business leaders

Our coaches from all our youth leagues work full time jobs, and volunteer their personal time to mentor, teach, and coach players all without stipends or funding. We need to put more resources and funding into our young players to ready them for the rigor of high school sports and to better prepare them to play against our surrounding cities/towns. We need to provide them with appropriate space for games and practices. Turning Trum and Conway fields over to soccer is not the answer. It’s a quick fix that will create many more issues down the road. Our baseball players have game time, but it is so difficult to get practice time as the fields are booked – what happens when other sport teams are requesting these two fields? We need to look for a solution that works for the majority – not just one group.
In reviewing the City budget, there is:
$75,000 budgeted in a gift account for educational, recreational and cultural uses
There are multiple grants for the Arts with over $875,000 from two foundations – let’s make our youth sports program a priority and get some grant money to strengthen existing programs.)
Through the SomerVision Goals there is FY15 Projected Revenue from Dilboy and the Ice Rink of approximately $840,000
We are paying $60,000 in professional & tech services for a full-time arborist to preserve, protect and enhance the city’s tree canopy – INVEST in our Kids – they are the future of this city.
The point is – if it is important – the money can be obtained. All of our kids need to be made a priority. As elected and paid Officials, I am asking you to be objective and to look for alternative solutions rather than just bullying or caving into accepting what works for one group. And, if you are not up to the challenge of representing all of your constituents than step down and let’s elect someone who represents all of us.
I’m not placing blame, I’m willing to help.

Susan James Leyva

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