The Commerce Journal

Opinion

October 24, 2013

EDITORIAL: Commerce should spend money on infrastructure before pool, rec center

COMMERCE — Recently, the possibility of adding a recreation center and pool in Commerce has been brought up at city council meetings. While the city council has yet to take any action on the item, it could end up before Commerce voters as a bond election in May of next year.

A pool and recreation center for the citizens of Commerce would be a wonderful luxury to have, a strong selling point for a city deperately in need of one. However, the streets, sidewalks, water and wastewater lines, and code enforcement should be at the top of Commerce’ to-do list. So should ensuring that our police department and fire department are adequately staffed and equipped. With the loss of Covidien, the city’s budget is stretched thin as it is.

Until Commerce can attract more families to live inside of the city limits, items like a swimming pool and recreation center will just have to be put on hold.

It is a tough situation, to be sure. In order for Commerce to grow, the city must attract businesses, industry and people.

But there has to be something here to attract those people, and that kind of growth requires additional infrastructure that should be constructed before it is needed.

A great way the city could grow is by encouraging more faculty and staff at A&M-Commerce to live in Commerce. The university is the city’s largest employer, but many faculty don’t live here.

This would also improve the relationship between the Commerce and A&M-Commerce communities, increase enrollment in the school system and help local businesses survive the summer months.

Perhaps the city and university could partner together to incentivize faculty to live and raise their families in Commerce.

The good news is that Commerce residents already have access to a rec center and pool — the Morris Recreation Center. Granted, it costs money to be a member there, but the facilities are excellent and represent a fantastic opportunity for the uninversity and city communities to interact on a closer basis.

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