Why Greenways matter

The Enquirer is reporting that the Boone County Greenways plan has been scrapped. This was the work of the Northern Kentucky Tea Party. Here’s their statement:

“This goes against all three pillars of the Northern Kentucky Tea Party, which are fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets,” said Willie Schadler, the organization’s president. “It is fiscally irresponsible to continue with this study.”

Fiscal responsibility? Boone County is one of the fastest growing counties in Kentucky.  It’s responsible to plan for parks and recreation now, rather than waiting until property values make it cost-prohibitive. Could New York City build Central Park today?  It would be impossible: the land is worth billions on the open market.

Photo by hubertk via Flickr

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Idlewild Park

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Idlewild Park

Limited government? How about good government? As Boone County grows, families will need places to walk and play.  Too much of Northern Kentucky is already plagued with sprawl, poor planning, and traffic congestion.  Right now, Boone County’s residential areas are islands separated from one another.  We have great parks, the county fairgrounds, historic buildings, all within a mile or two of my home, and I can’t walk with my children to any of them.  Our roads were built for farmland: narrow, two-lane highways with deep ditches and no shoulders.  Those roads make no sense in residential areas.

Free markets? Free markets require structure. We couldn’t have private property rights without property laws, county records of deeds, or government maps and surveys.  None of our county roads were built by free markets. Boone County has zoning laws in many parts of the county limiting how the property can be used. Heck, we have laws that tell certain types of criminals where they can and cannot live. The question is whether we have “free markets.” The question is how do the common interests of the people intersect with the private interests of individuals.

Here’s why greenways are so important.

Paula Brehm-Heeger, who has lived in Hebron since 2002, applauded county leaders for trying to plan for the future.

“When we planned to move, we looked at Loveland (Ohio), which has the great bike trails, the Miami Whitewater area and Boone County,” Brehm-Heeger said. “Those were all communities that were looking forward and we wanted that.”

She said a recently installed sidewalk near her home was teeming with activity almost as soon as it was completed.

I have no idea what the Northern Kentucky Tea Party is so angry about in this case.  Greenways are a no-brainer: a low-cost way to dramatically improve the quality of life for our community and our children. This is an investment for the future.