On a recent sultry Sunday afternoon, several young children, and their parents, availed themselves of the new splash pad water feature in the Barton County Courthouse Square. It was a scene of unbridled joy as the kids ran through the fountains and streams of cool water shooting from the floor.
On the same day, the Wetlands at Great Bend Aquatic Park was packed with youngsters and families frolicking and laughing as they escaped the summer heat. At the same time, a mere feet away, the playground equipment at Brit Spaugh Park was crawling with kids of all ages.
Across town, Great Bend many ball fields and other parks were also busy. Disc golf, softball, dog owners in the dog park.
This was just one day, one day of many. Our myriad of recreational facilities in this community are diverse and well used, and are an outstanding attraction for our fair city.
First, city officials must be commended for their efforts to fund and maintain these features. Second of all, the loud-mouthed naysayers who continually yell that these are a waste of taxpayers’ money need to sit down and shut up.
Some of these features (the splash pad, the improved walking trail at Veterans Memorial Park and the Tot Spot at Brit Spaugh) were either mostly or entirely funded with private funds. But, in regards to those that weren’t, if we want our community to thrive, we must offer things for our residents to do and be attractive enough to lure other families here.
We gotta pay for what some may see as frivolous stuff. Because, you see, this stuff is far from frivolous.
These are the accents, the little extras, that parents can take their kids to. They are the fun activities grandparents can take their grand kids to.
Recent controversies aside, we have a great city and a lot of officials who really care about it. This is where we need to focus our attention.
There is enough nastiness in Topeka and Washington, D.C., that we don’t need to allow it to seep into our home.