A not-for-profit concern

So Augusta commissioners are concerned that the city's Newman Tennis Center seems to be losing money.

Well, guess what: It's not necessarily supposed to make money.

Neither are Augusta's parks and playgrounds. Or its senior centers. Or the Augusta Boxing Club. Or the aquatic center. Or the city's Summer Day Camp. Or its after-school programs.

Or the city itself, for that matter.

True, ideally a city takes in more money than it spends. But a city is not a for-profit business. It's a municipal structure that provides services to the public, in return for our tax dollars. It's a delicate balancing act that cities big and small struggle with.

But we're talking about quality of life here, and you can't put a dollar value on that, try as you might.

Now, if the city can find ways to more efficiently operate the center, fine. But don't skimp on existing quality, and especially don't expect it down the road to be a cash cow - even though the center has made about $18 million from 73 tournaments over the past 10 years.

Augusta's commissioners should bear this in mind, too: While dithering over the city tennis center, and while finding whiffs of impropriety at the city golf course, why on earth did anyone even consider the notion of erecting a city-owned drag strip? If there are concerns over the sports concerns the city runs now, why start something else and not improve what the city already has?

Get rid of that ugly duckling idea of a drag strip. Then get the other city-owned ducks in a row.

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Wed, 12/07/2016 - 23:19

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