To the editor:
The idea of getting into an SUV and driving to a “wellness” center makes no sense. Why not transform our local neighborhoods into wellness centers at far less expense? While a glitzy new sports center might impress some visitors, our many neglected neighborhoods reveal a far less attractive side of town. Let’s improve the wellness infrastructure that we have before we plow scarce tax dollars into the western fringes of town.
Consider a child who lives in the area south of 23rd and east of Iowa. If “Sue” needs to walk to Schwegler School she will have to cross 23rd at Ousdahl. If she wants to walk to Holcom Park, she will have to cross Iowa on 25th. I would certainly be reluctant to let a third-grader walk to either of those destinations. Sue’s only alternative is to stay home and play video games. She will never have the opportunity to use a “wellness” center at the western edge of town on a regular basis.
We can construct wellness centers around each school that encourage children to walk or bicycle. It would be a simple matter to build a Pinckney-type underpass that Sue could use to walk or ride to Schwegler or Holcom. The Safe Routes to Schools initiative encourages children and adults to take responsibility for their own wellness. I would prefer to see our tax dollars invested for the health and safety of all children rather than see a few children driven around town all day in SUVs.