Monday, July 23, 2007

Subsidized Saturday

Without thinking about it, I double dipped two scoops of municipal pleasure on Saturday, with a round of golf at Minor Park Municipal Golf Course and an evening of jazz at the Blue Room. In both instances, I was able to access first-class services at prices that made it affordable - I doubt I would have had it in my budget to pay the going rate for a round of golf at a private golf course, and I expect that the opportunity to hear the Will Matthews Quartet in an intimate venue would not even exist in Kansas City without the subsidized Blue Room.

Both experiences were excellent. Minor Park Golf Course lacks the hills, breathtaking beauty and ball-swallowing challenge of Swope Memorial (one of the best municipal golf courses in the nation), but it is a great place to go out with a few friends and walk the course. Despite Minor Park's reputation at a beginner's course, we finished our round in a little under four hours. The club house had signs up that the back nine holes will be closed from July 25 through August 10 at they install zoysia fairways. Next time I play, it will be wonderful to see those zoysia fairways, and, dare to dream, maybe even land in one.

That evening, my lovely spouse and I went to see Will Matthews, a jazz guitarist whose solo CD I discovered in a cut-out bin and bought on a whim. I've seen him live a couple times since, but this was the best show yet. All four members of the quartet launched into great solos - with the drummer shining in particular - and they put it all together for some great originals and classics. Body and Soul stood out as a highlight of the evening. We were able to get a great table right near the band, and enjoyed the smoke-free atmosphere of the Blue Room immensely. BTW, I grabbed a card for their Indigo Hour, which is an every-Friday happy hour from 5 - 7:30, with $2 drinks and appetizers, and door prizes. Sounds like a good thought for a culturally-aware blogger meet-up, don't you think?

In both cases, an argument could be made that taxpayers should not be subsidizing my pleasure. Dogmatic limited-government types would claim that dollars spent on golf and jazz are dollars diverted from crumbling inner-city streets and police protection.

In a sense, they are right, but they are wrong on the larger point. I love living in Kansas City because of what makes the city what it is. Minor Park and the Blue Room make Kansas City more than just a bunch of homes and businesses connected by steel-plated roads.

This morning's Kansas City Star reports that Mayor Funkhouser is directing his Parks Board to increase citizen satisfaction. According to a recent survey of Kansas City residents, 49 percent were satisfied with park maintenance and 19 percent were satisfied with youth athletic programs. The real room for quick improvement, though, lies in the 32 percent of the more than 4,100 respondents who said they seldom or never visited the parks.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like the rich. The minorities have the same advantages with playing golf or going to the Blue Room.
Because we all know business or individuals wouldn't invest in this kind of practice.
This way the inner city has the same opportunity
as the white kids in playing golf. You never know there might be another Tiger Woods out there.

7/23/2007 10:24 PM  

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