Anyone out there listen to National Public Radio’s “Prairie Home Companion”? It has this recurring line: It’s a place where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”
You know the sentiment – that it’s too good to be true. We’ve heard people say that about the Recreation Center. That it can’t possibly be of benefit to seniors AND families with small kids AND teenagers AND young adults AND businesses. We hear people saying that we are just selling the project however we can spin it to get a vote.
There is something a little Lake Woebegon about Frankenmuth. Other communities look at us and ask us, How come Frankenmuth is so successful? Why is it safe? Why are the neighborhoods so well maintained? There is a tangible difference. If a neighbor isn’t mowing their yard, in Frankenmuth your neighbor will actually offer to help instead of calling City Hall. In Frankenmuth, people have a sense of civic duty. A “we can do this together” kind of attitude.
That’s why, to me, a recreation center has been a missing piece. A recreation center can be that place where everyone – regardless of age – has a place to be. With kids. Without kids. Young. Old.
Have you ever read with a book club? Don’t you find it odd how everyone can read the same book – the same chapters – and bring a different perspective? That’s what this Recreation Center is. That’s really what this vote is all about. Maybe you can’t see a need. Or even a benefit. Before you decide that, visit Center Courts or Freeland Sports Zone or the Midland Community Center. At any given time at Center Courts there are people of all ages walking. When I’ve gone there on my lunch hour, there is a group of home school students who come together to use the court for an organized PE class. There are pick-up basketball games. There’s chair yoga. There is a sense of community. There are two older men – in their 70s I would say – who sit downstairs at the tables and read the newspaper and talk while their wives walk upstairs. Someone else may say Center Courts is where they go because that’s where their grandkids play basketball. Or that’s where they have “Music for Munchkins” with their daughter. Or that’s where they hosted their baby shower.
I’ve also heard that “we’re selling something different.” That it’s nothing like Freeland Sports Zone. That we’re just saying that to get votes. But compare what we are offering.
No one’s story is the same. Nor is someone’s motivation. Think about your story. Whatever your motivation, we want you to exercise your civic duty. Vote. We’d prefer that you vote yes, but vote.