The purpose of planning retreats by local government units, regardless of where they are held, are to express bold ideas and big visions. That purpose is OK with us, however, when those visions run over wonderful programs, spaces, or currently invested projects, it does stir the ire of our front porch visitors, neighbors, and friends.

jim-palenick.jpg    gastonia-municipal-golf-course.jpg

Jim “Big Plan” Palenick is pot-stirring big time over there in Gastown. He got the golfers upset. Not the country club set, the regular daily joes, who can still find a public space to recreate in their chosen physical activity.

“Big Plan” Jim wants to sell off the 90-acre Gastonia Municipal Golf Course because it costs the city a quarter of a million dollars each year to maintain (and staff).

According to various reports, “it’s used only by people who have an interest in golf…”. ( Observer Article, Gazette commentary )

Duh —

And baseball fields only appeal to people who have interest in baseball. Horseshoe pits only appeal to people who have an interest in horseshoe. 

We bet that it costs a pretty penny to operate the baseball fields at Martha Rivers Park (a Gastonia City facility).  To be fair, the City of Gastonia DOES allow non-residents to rent the baseball fields for fundraising tournaments and for-profit tournaments. Those events bring money, but also take money out of the town. 

What about all those underused recreation buildings? — the Adult Center on Franklin, Phillips Center, and Bradley Center. Is “Big Plan” going to review the viability and reuse options for this sites as well? Since he wants to demolish a relatively new privately financed community service structure in downtown — Salvation Army Shelter — to hid the homeless — the line can be drawn that maybe we should hide the poor kids too.


(Bradley Center, North Modena Street, Gastonia)

Our friends in Gastonia, bless their hearts,  had better be watchful of the new city manager. He is getting ready to hang the “For Sale” sign on the City limits. What happened to the city’s comprehensive plan?

Of course, the Gazette agrees with Mr. Palenick’s viewpoint — their opinion being that ONLY THE RICH PEOPLE should be able to play golf on their dime… “…its not like the absence of a public golf course in Gastonia would leave the golfing community high and dry. Gaston County and the surrounding area offer many PRIVATE [emphasis added] courses…”.


Seems like the Gazette would like to make a case for the privatization of most recreational activities – yeah, let’s talk about what private citizen’s decide to do when they don’t have the money any longer in the family to sustain the lifestyle with which they have become accustomed…THEY SELL IT TO DEVELOPERS… great advocacy by the Libertarian Mouthpiece… take away a public amenity that contributes to the quality of life.


(sorry for the flag pole – we deleted it — it wa an overzealous sports editor who is a golf fanatic — Dilbert was chosen as a more appropriate comment)