W hen it comes down to it, there are lots of things in this world more important than basketball, baseball or all manner of recreation programs.
Especially in the City of York, which struggles to find two nickels to rub together most days.
So one has to set priorities.
We each probably draw that line at a different place.
For me, as an example, the main street, north to south or vice versa, through the city should be a top priority. All of the time.
I recall the weekend some years ago -- I don't recall exactly how many years, but I'd guess it to be around nine or 10, maybe a couple less -- when PennDOT shut down George Street from one end to the other and resurfaced the entire thoroughfare in two days.
It was magnificent. Absolutely beautiful -- yes, I think a road can be beautiful. For a couple of months.
Then the utility companies and the city's own public works department started digging into it. And in no time at all, it was turned into a mess of humps and dips that rattled a person's brain driving on it.
And now, this many years later, it's as bad as it was before PennDOT fixed it. Because apparently no one knows how to dig a hole in macadam, fix a pipe or whatever, and then refill the hole with dirt, stones and fresh macadam so that it's almost like new.
It just doesn't happen. Either the hole is overfilled with macadam, leaving what amounts to a speed bump, or it's under-filled, leaving a crater designed to break your vehicle's axle.
No fun to drive on at all.
Then, to make matters worse, there are the natural cave-ins and sinkholes here and there that contribute to the problem. Check out the beauties situated on the newly-laid crosswalk right in front of the Left Bank Restaurant. Drive over them and pray your tires aren't destroyed; walk over them and pray you don't break an ankle.
Of course, those don't get fixed until they're large enough to swallow a horse. Then you end up with more unintended speed bumps and craters. It's a never-ending battle.
That's what we have right now on George Street, north and south.
And I think that should be a priority when it comes to the use of tax dollars -- and I don't care very much if we're talking state tax dollars, York County tax dollars or York City tax dollars.
I know every street in the city can't be perfect, but I'd like the main thoroughfares north, south, east and west to make a favorable impression on those of us who use them every day and those tourists willing to venture into the city for a day here and there.
It doesn't seem like too much to ask.
But back to my original thought: My list is long of those things I think should be a top priority in York City.
And there's nothing recreational on my list.
That said, I do think it's fantastic a group called the Summer Saints has made it a priority to raise funds and provide leadership to make certain the city's youth basketball program at Bantz Park remains afloat.
Another group -- It Takes A Village -- has agreed to construct a retainer wall at Bantz Park to prevent stormwater runoff from flooding the facility every time it rains.
The Summer Saints program is only a year old, but it is committed to creating an opportunity for boys and girls, age 5 to 17, to play basketball (organized or pickup) during the summer months.
And when the kids in York City (and beyond) aren't playing basketball, they have an opportunity to play baseball, something that wasn't the case in York City for something like 20 years when baseball all but disappeared.
But then the Rotary Club of York, the YMCA and several other agency and corporate sponsors made it their business to bring baseball back to city youth. They've raised funds. They've refurbished a number of Little League Baseball fields. They've provided adult leadership to run the league and coaches for all of the teams.
It's been a huge success. This year, for instance, more than 250 girls and boys have participated in the York Little League program.
It's impossible to say "no" tax dollars have been used to resurrect these programs, but it hasn't been much. Most of the money has been raised locally. Almost all of the work has been done by locals.
This is a perfect example of how these types of projects that benefit the community can be accomplished without expecting it to be done by using tax dollars.
Really, it's a breath of fresh air.
Now if only we can get a couple of these main streets in the city brought up to snuff it'd make me a happy person.
Not that I have to be happy.
But I can remember clearly driving to work the last time George Street was paved stem to stern, and how good it made me feel. It was almost like getting a Christmas gift in the middle of summer.
I'd like to feel that way again.
Columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.