Sunday, April 26, 2009

Skate park

A $130,000 skate park was recently unveiled at Centennial Park. Not surprisingly, I don’t think this park is a good use of tax payer dollars. I don’t have a thing in the world against skateboarding. In fact, I think it is pretty cool to watch skaters do their tricks. However, like much of what the Department of Recreation and Parks wastes our money on, a skate park is far too narrow of a niche to be built with public funds.

According to Gary Arthur, the Director of Howard County’s Department of Recreation and Parks, the skate park was built on an under-used basketball court at Centennial. I am curious to see how well utilized this skate park will be. County government has a poor record of anticipating public demand, as evidenced by the basketball court that the skate park has replaced. As cool as the skate park may be, I doubt that many skaters will want their very uncool moms and dads to drive them there. It will be much more convenient to skate somewhere in their own neighborhood. For those skaters who drive, we’ll see how long it takes them to get bored with the park.

The Department of Recreation and Parks has a $30 million operating budget, which translates to about $110 per county resident. I’m still waiting for a County-funded strip club.


Anonymous said...

wow.... cant believe your saying that the skatespot was a waist. dont you think that it is better to get skaters off the streets and into a safe environment meant for them to use and enjoy. $130,000 isnt all that much in tax dollars if you think about it. This is just my opinion as a skater cause i love the newly opened skate spot. but think about it, if you were a skater, wouldnt you want a park to call your own instead of using the streets? think about it. Have a nice day.
-Bryan B.

Freemarket said...

Bryan- thanks for your comment. I took your advice and I decided to think about this. You’re right- if I was a skater, I would want tax dollars to be used to build a skate park. If I was a horse rider, I would want tax dollars to be used to build a horse park. If I was a drug addict, I would want tax dollars to be used to build a drug park.

But then I thought, wouldn’t it be much simpler if the government minded their own business and let me spend my money on whatever I wanted rather than stealing my money from me in the form of taxes and giving it to various special interests? Think about it from that point of view.

Anonymous said...

well everyone has there own interests and point of view. it gets us off the streets and into a park. this is the only skatespot in HoCo so uum its not a waist. i see your point, but im not saying that we need alot of these parks, one park isnt that much, they build community parks for little kids, why not a park "skatespot" for teens that skate. Ultimatly its your own point of view. We got our park, the money is already spent. Have a good one.
-Bryan B.

Anonymous said...

P.S.- I also discovered that the Skate Spots cost less than Typical placeground equipment. "The skate spots cost about $130,000 — less than typical playground equipment — making them an attractive way to add new park features for relatively little money, Arthur said. Skating areas will likely be part of any future parks project, he said." this is from explore howard countys web site. Just letting you know. Have a good one.

Freemarket said...

Well, I see your point as well but I disagree for reasons that I already stated. Since you brought him up, how conceited do you think Gary Arthur has to be to believe that he can spend our own money more wisely than we can spend it ourselves? In the end, that kind of mentality is what I am objecting to. I have nothing at all against skating.

One last point: the total county budget is approaching 2 billion dollars a year. $100 million will be spent on libraries over the next 5 years. If you think the local government gives a crap about skaters because they built a $130 thousand skate spot, think again. They view skaters as little more than a photo opportunity.

Good luck with your skating.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, good luck with your future blogs. Have a good one. And i see the points your making. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Dear freemarket: If you will volunteer to go without any and all tax funded services...
...I will pay your taxes for you.

FreeMarket said...

Believe me, I wish that were as simple as you make it sound. Government is great at solving the problem of building things like roads and providing national defense, because it is hard to exclude those who don’t pay for those things from reaping the benefits of them. In fact, those two items alone may make an anarchistic society impossible, at least until technology greatly improves from what we have now.

But, I would not view that as a reason why government should be providing schools, libraries, parks, etc, because those things are rival and excludable unlike roads and national defense. There are a large number of alternatives between what we have now and a pure “free market”.