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COUNTY LINE, BY DAVE LANGE
COUNTY LINE, BY DAVE LANGE
Cheers to sense of community
This being Christmas and all, with many of us being warm and fuzzy for peace on Earth and all, I thought I'd take a look at love and goodwill in the community where I live. According to definition, community is applicable to common interests and fellowship among "all the people living in a particular district, city, etc."
I don't live in a city, but Bainbridge Township is close enough. Most of the people in the Bainbridge community live in the Kenston School District community, although some are in the Chagrin Falls School District community. Our school district also includes the people of the Auburn Township community, which makes them part of the same school community. We all live in the Chagrin Falls Post Office community, as do folks in a number of neighboring villages and townships.
Beyond that, I feel that I'm part of the Chagrin Valley community, the Geauga County community and even the Greater Cleveland community. Some people don't share my sense of community -- even during this season of good cheer.
A group of my fellow community members, who call themselves the Kenston stadium committee, are seeking to raise $2.5 million through community donations to significantly upgrade the aging stadium next to Kenston High School in Bainbridge Township.
So far, they've raised $400,000 of the $800,000 needed to tackle the first phase, replacement of the dirt and grass field with artificial turf. Based on the experiences of other communities that have made that improvement, including Chagrin Falls, they say it could increase the stadium's use from about 45 mostly school athletic events each year to over 400 events involving a wide variety of community activities for all ages. That seems a bit ambitious to me, but it also seems that the purpose of a stadium in the community should be to involve the community as much as possible.
Being that Bainbridge Township is flush with about $6 million remaining from the Paul S. Frohring estate-tax windfall, the stadium committee has approached the Township Trustees with a request to make a contribution to their community effort. Unlike me, the trustees are not so sure that Bainbridge Township and the Kenston School District are the same community or that the stadium is a community asset.
In the past, much of the original $15 million from the Frohring windfall went into buying land for parks and green space, a wonderful community objective. Trustees have discussed such possible expenditures as building a stairway to a waterfalls on land Bainbridge owns in Aurora and purchasing a firetruck to be used by the privately operated fire company, also fine community investments.
Some people who may consider themselves members of the community say the estate taxes should be spent in lieu of future increases in their property taxes. That way, someone with an $800,000 home in the Woods of Wembley could benefit 10 times as much as someone living in an $80,000 home in the Chagrin Falls Park neighborhood. That's a strange sense of community.
In some towns, high school sports and other activities are the pride of the community. In other states, the town governments and their budgets are responsible for operating the schools, including the sports programs, for the community. In many places, people choose their community because of the schools. Sometimes, people of great wealth who spend most of their lives in a community end up having stadiums named in their honor.
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