Opinion

Soundoff; Stadium bond benefits many

By Dave McCool

The time could not be better to invest in our community and in our youth with the up-coming stadium bond election. The community coalition that has come together via the leadership of Citizens for Better Schools and Rotary have raised over $400,000 in private money to help offset the cost of a new $6.5 million stadium. This demonstrates that even with other known school district needs, the community at large believes now is the time to build a stadium facility that can meet the outdoor classroom needs of our students and recreational needs of our community.

This is a smart and important step that coincides with the City of Oak Harbor’s planned redevelopment. There are studies and research that links primary and secondary education to economic development. High-quality education increases individual earnings and the community’s economic health. Evidence that our community is willing to invest in our schools can influence future economic growth and development. That investment equates to approximately 19 cents per $1,000 property valuation or the equivalent of $38 a year on a $200,000 home.

More importantly, the stadium facility is going to support our children and young adults through better outdoor classrooms. It provides for physical education classes, NJROTC, marching band, cheerleaders and of course football, soccer, and track and field events.

There are many benefits of youth sports participation, including teamwork building, improved health, social and moral development especially with regard to delinquency and aggressive behavior, and deterring negative behavior such as smoking, alcohol and drug use. It gives our kids and community a facility they can be proud of and can use year round.

I recently attended the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce luncheon that provided a forum for candidates for the upcoming elections. I was saddened to hear from one of the candidates that the youth in our community feel that we do not care about them. This was primarily due to lack of youth activities and facilities. This is one step that we can take that demonstrates that our children are our priority.

Gabriel Heatter once said, “Mere longevity is a good thing for those who watch life from the sidelines. For those who play the game, an hour may be a year; a single day’s work an achievement for eternity.”

I encourage you to join with me, Oak Harbor School Board, Oak Harbor City Council, Rotary, Citizens for Better Schools, Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce and the many groups and individuals that are working very hard to improve the facilities and lives of our community. Vote yes for the stadium bond!

Dave McCool is a member of the Oak Harbor School Board.

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