Playground improvements a hit
Race2Play, a Columbus Park Foundation initiative, last year generated $500,000 in private donations that allowed for upgrades at four city playgrounds. Based on feedback shared at a June 5 reunion event to highlight the changes, the program has been a big success.
The initiative fueled improvements at Mead Village, Morningside, Pence Street and Ninth Street parks. People said the playgrounds are vastly improved and kids in the neighborhoods have been more comfortable using the facilities.
Parks that attract children and families create a greater sense of community. The improvements at the four parks are playing an important role in fostering neighborhood and community pride. That’s worth celebrating.
Good prekindergarten pitch
Supporters of Bartholomew County public prekindergarten programs funded by taxpayers know they face a tough challenge on the heels of a 2012 referendum defeated by voters. Education backers came up with a creative approach to getting their message across during a May 28 luncheon for members of the business committee, making the case again for a referendum approval in November’s general election.
A referendum question that will appear on the ballot says that Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. will ask for an increase of
5 cents per $100,000 assessed valuation on city property for seven years. That would generate $1.8 million annually to pay for full-time prekindergarten for an estimated 450 students a year whose families cannot afford it.
Prekindergarten supporters believe that starting education before kindergarten provides children with valuable educational tools and a foundation that sets them up for long-term success. They made that point by providing attendees with a plastic spoon instead of metal flatware to cut chicken — the wrong tool.
The example was an important one that prekindergarten supporters must continue to make to succeed this time.
Burton had significant impact
Jerry Burton’s softball coaching career ended when Columbus North High School lost in the May 30 sectional championship. However, what he accomplished before retiring and the impact he had on players during his 23-year career shouldn’t be forgotten.
He started Columbus East’s program in 1991 and coached there until 2006. Burton also coached at Jennings County for two seasons before moving to North in 2010. He won sectional titles at each stop (eight overall), one regional championship at East and North and finished with a 366-212 record.
While some former players described him as tough, it was because he had high expectations for them that more often than not were met.