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Our View: Let’s support the rec bond, create a better place to live

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If you’re like 78 percent of Lancaster County residents, you live in an owner-occupied dwelling, which probably means you have a mortgage or had one in the past.
Borrowing to buy a home is a normal part of American life. Almost no one saves up for 30 years, then buys a house for cash. We would rather live in the house as we pay for it. Life is just more pleasant that way, for us and our families, and that’s one of the benefits of living in a country with a well-established system of borrowing for long-term needs.
Local governments can do the same thing, with the consent of the voters. And in the Nov. 6 election, we’ll make a choice on borrowing $19 million to build and improve an assortment of recreational facilities throughout the county.
This is the first time Lancaster County has considered borrowing for recreation. We’ve borrowed for school construction before, as we last did in 2016’s $199 million referendum. Other big public building projects have used special-purpose sales taxes, like our new courthouse and the upcoming improvements to our libraries. Buford’s rec center is undergoing $800,000 in upgrades funded through the county hospitality tax.
The rec bond would pay for new soccer complexes in Indian Land and Heath Springs, expansion and renovation of the Indian Land recreation center, improvements to the Barr Street Auditorium, and the first phase of the Lindsay Pettus Greenway in Lancaster.
All of these projects would increase the quality of life for our community. And that’s important for a lot of reasons. If you’re interested in the county’s economic growth, you know that amenities like these attract companies bringing jobs and families looking for a satisfying place to live. If you don’t care about packing more people into our county, think of this as choosing to have more interesting things to do, whether that’s watching your kids or grandkids play soccer, enjoying a local theater production or strolling the greenway on a brisk fall weekend.
We have to be careful about borrowing, of course. We mustn’t take on more debt than we can afford to pay back. Our quality of life might go way up if the county bought a fleet of bass boats, but that wouldn’t make it the right decision.
These recreation projects are not extravagant. Borrowing the $19 million will cost the owner of a $100,000 house $16 or $17 a year in higher property taxes.
We believe these improvements to our community’s recreational life are easily worth that cost, and we urge you to support the bond next Tuesday.
Let’s all invest in making Lancaster County a better place to live.