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Creativity in budget cuts
by Larry Wilson
Apr 12, 2010 | 755 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Our country is suffering through tough economic times. Nevada seems to be hit even harder by the impact of these economic down turns. One of the most recent cut backs is the proposed closure of the Great Basin Park at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno and the closure of the swimming pool at Bower’s Mansion. At first blush, these closures and cut backs don’t seem to have much impact until you look beyond at the impact on people.

I know from personal experience that many people worked many hours through many meetings to finally see the construction of the Great Basin Adventure Park feature at Rancho San Rafael Park. In the past, many thousands of children, parents, grand parents and plain citizens have derived endless hours of fun and relaxation from each of these possibly closed park features.

There are more than 60,000 school children in the Washoe County School District. If each student gave 50 cents for the continued operation of these park features, we would collect enough pocket change to sustain these park features for almost three years based on current annual operating costs. I say collect the money from the students, as they are primarily the ones who benefit from the operation of the features, as it should be.

Some people will say that kids don’t need these features to survive and that is probably true, but when kids play, they dream and their imaginations are working and who’s to say what great ideas may come from the minds of kids after having had some fun using these park features?

My oldest daughter, Tara, spent three years in the Peace Corps in Tanzania, East Africa. We visited her there and met the son of her neighbor. He was just a little guy in 2002 named Baracka. He didn’t have much to play with and he loved to go through my daughter’s waste basket and dig out empty packaging boxes to play with. He would spend endless hours playing with these old, empty containers which had absolutely no use at all except to be disposed of. For some reason, Baracka found them useful toys and thrived playing with them.

We essentially are doing the same thing to our children in Nevada by closing these park features. They will have no activity except to be open with no charge and nothing going on inside. These park features will become for all intents and purposes empty boxes for our children to play with. Do we really want this for our children? I don’t think so.

If we adults in Washoe County get our sorry behinds in motion and collect that small pocket change immediately we will be able to keep these park features open for the kids so they will at least have the benefit of something for them to play with, in and around this summer and hopefully for a long time after.    

Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at
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