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March 20, 2014

Publisher's Notebook: City should pass restaurant tax

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — On a cold, clear evening last week, two young men let off some steam on the basketball courts behind the Farmer’s Market in downtown London. It was cold enough for the hoopsters to see their breaths as they ran up and down the court.

On warm evenings, the courts are jam packed with people playing pickup games. Most of these people don’t have gym memberships. But basketball is fun, and it’s a great way to get the heart rate up.

The activity at the basketball courts is non stop in the summer, which demonstrates a sad reality. It’s a shame that in a county of 60,000 people, a sizable portion of them young people looking for something to do, there are only two small, cramped basketball courts for them to play on.

That’s why London City Council needs to finalize the restaurant tax.

The first reading of a proposed three-percent restaurant tax has already passed the city council by a slim margin. But there are indications that some council members may be reconsidering their positive vote before the second and final reading of the ordinance takes place.

They should think twice before sending the proposed tax to defeat.

London, and Laurel County together, desperately need more places for people to recreate, to exercise and to gather and enjoy life in this beautiful area of the country. The existing parks and recreation centers, like Mill Street and the two small basketball courts, are over utilized and inadequate to fill the needs of a growing community.

A new city park, along with hiking and biking trails and other tourism-recreation related activities, were listed as priorities in the Vision 2020 assessment completed for the area a few years ago. The top priority, a new vocational school, is currently under construction. So, London has an opportunity to address its greatest needs now and in the future.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
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C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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