I have been following the Gale Park controversy, including the latest on why the center is not open and the question as to just how the BGC will provide programming. I am left scratching my head as to why the controversy exists at all, other than due to the Alderman's lack of vision and poor political savvy. Surely he saw the issue coming at him like a ton of bricks. Why invite controversy?
So I wondered where to look for an example of a better idea, and began by returning "home" to Brook Park, Ohio, where I spent the majority of my childhood. Brook Park is the home for a Ford engine plant and a Chevy plant. Bowling is the unofficial community sport, or was when I was a child. My family was one of the very few whose breadwinners were not on an automaker's payroll, or in a supporting industry.
In my childhood we had a community pool (where I learned how to swim) and a small recreation program. Later, the community built a recreation center, and it has evolved into a community center. If a small, incorporated community of 22,500 souls (per the website) can support a center like this, even with the fee structure in place, why can't Rogers Park pull this off too? We have the Park District; why do we need the BGC to run this operation? There are numerous organizations providing youth programming, why not find a way to incorporate those groups into the center? Brook Park openly invites such partnership, and not just for youth programs. Just what has Brook Park got that Rogers Park lacks?
Believe me, Brook Park is no Eden, I lived there and I know it's darker side. Yet it is able to do what we apparently cannot do, and the only reason for that, so far as I can see, is political. Rogers Park must suffer the fools who would rather score political points than step forward and make the Gale facility a community focused center. You don't need to be a so-called "hate-blogger" to recognize that there is a problem here, and the community is going to have to solve it.