OUR VIEW - We Need Water
EDITORIAL - Recreation Ideas
We have got to have a water park.
The City of Clinton’s new recreation complex is a blank slate. Some writing was done to that slate yesterday (Jan. 22), as residents were invited to a brainstorming meeting on the Hwy 56 site (details will be in the Jan. 30 Chronicle). A company from Kentucky will design the recreation complex - all they have to do is look to Newberry to find something that we - desperately - need in Clinton. We need a place for young people to congregate, and what funner place is there than a water park.
It would be right off the interstate, so maybe it could attract some visitors, as well. Greenville’s water parks are crowded - just jump on the superhighway and come on down to the Clinton water park. It would be the only water park in Laurens County.
Newberry is building a water park. An article on the WIS-TV website says, “Right now, while there isn’t much to see at the site located at 1786 Glenn Street Extension, plans for the final project include a splash pad attraction, a large pond and multipurpose fields for soccer and lacrosse. Then, eventually, baseball and softball fields will be added as well. The nearly $6 million facility is funded mostly through the one cent Capital Projects Sales Tax, a referendum passed by Newberry voters back in 2016. Newberry Mayor Foster Senn says those tax dollars are helping an even greater cause. ‘We’re making a big effort, in the last five years, on improving our parks and this is the big one. This is the one that’s really going to be our central point and so we’re encouraging people this year just to be active every day. We already have walking trails and sidewalks and things in town, and parks, and then we’ll be adding this one in the summertime and we think it’s just going to promote a better, fitter community,’ Mayor Senn said.
“Construction is being done in two separate phases with most of the work expected to be finished in May of this year. Phase two will feature the additional baseball and softball fields and may take a few more years. The facility will also include wheelchair accessible playgrounds.”
The one thing we don’t need right now is a Capital Project Sales Tax.
Can you imagine paying YET ANOTHER penny on top of all the other pennies we already pay in taxes in the City of Clinton? Plus electric, water, sewer and garbage.
No, we have enough money right now to build a water park, plus handicapped accessible playgrounds. Even some larger swings would be nice, for the residents of Whitten Center.
We don’t need an amphitheater - Laurens already has one. But, if we are just determined to build one, at least do the sensible thing and partner with the Newberry Opera House to get some decent entertainment there. Laurens’ amphitheater sits empty 300 days out of the year - that will be the fate of a Clinton amphitheater if we don’t have somebody in charge of booking entertainment.
We have a lot of entertainers RIGHT HERE that we are not tapping like we should, so we can start local and work our way up.
Local ordinances have cleared the way for beer and wine to be sold there, so that ship has sailed. It would be smart to have a police substation at the entrance to the recreation center, to give that side of Clinton a little more security.
Ballfields? We’re not sure about those. People from Clinton travel all over the state to watch their kids compete in sports, and they are in awe of the recreation complexes they travel to. But, is that market saturated? One thing we do need to nurture is the Clinton Little Devils tackle football program, and a couple football fields with goal posts, concessions, restrooms and office space would be a great investment for not that much money (there’s one of these on Garner’s Ferry Road outside Columbia).
If we can teach our young people the proper way to play tackle football, we will be long-range winning results in our high school program. Who knows, these young athletes may even transition into the Presbyterian College football program.
We need a teen center, but we feel that could be accomplished better in Martha Dendy School or Bell Street Middle School, or both. In any event, these would need staffing, and that is going to be a very difficult challenge for the City of Clinton.
A fitness track, and a walking trail are needed in the City of Clinton’s recreation complex. But, these cannot be isolated, because that is crime and victimization of the walkers and runners just waiting to happen. We need to encourage the construction and/or renovation of a motel within walking distance of our recreation complex. We need to let housing developers know there is acreage next door to our recreation complex, perhaps even for a tiny house community. We need a dedicated golf cart or small bus path connecting our recreation complex to the Clinton Presbyterian Community.
But, first, we need water. We need to teach swimming, a life-long way to keep fit. We need a refreshing, family-oriented place to deal with the summer heat. And, if people from elsewhere want to come join us - because our “swimming hole” is so family-friendly - we need to let them know they are welcome.