* Chicken Little has been getting a little cocky lately — especially with ideas he isn’t paying property taxes to fund.

By Chicken Little

I can only speak for myself. I would rather pay for the city services I use than be annexed on the dubious grounds that I am a freeloader.

"What? Me walk?"
“A county parks levy? Are you nuts? My ears are still ringing from the complaints I heard in June on the county budget.

I am willing to pay a nonresident fee for a library card, which is a common practice elsewhere. I have no objection to paying a similar fee for recreation programs.

Anyone in Tennessee can come to enjoy one of our parks as we can enjoy theirs. No one is risking annexation by doing so. Part of the sales tax I pay goes to the city, and I imagine the gas tax helps pay for city roads.

This idea may be dead on arrival

Maybe the county should get into the park business with a regional park. It is common elsewhere. Perhaps the county could add a parks levy to the property tax. If county officials don’t want to be in the parks business, a parks levy would be a way for us to contribute to the city parks we use. It beats annexation. Besides, a precedent exists in the way the county shares sales tax revenue with city schools.

More hypocrisy from the bird

I write all this because I am about to make another proposal that is a tad hypocritical, since I don’t pay city property taxes.

I love living here. I like the scenery, the people and the relaxed lifestyle. The only thing I miss from my prior two stops is being within a short drive of the ocean. The Greenway is nice, but walking along a small stream (sometimes with junkyard fences on the other side) isn’t the same as walking an ocean boardwalk.

We can’t bring the ocean here, but we could have a park with a major water feature. I wouldn’t be excited about paying a county levy for another set of ballfields (my time to first base and my waistline have grown). But I would gladly support the right kind of county/city park.

A place where people gather

Fremont, where I lived from 1972-79, had that kind of park. It was making a virtue of necessity, as the Hayward fault line ran right through this part of the city. The park itself was 500-acres.

Perhaps a similar situation exists here with land that is in the floodplain — or land where the depth to bedrock is so shallow or the water table so high that building is costly.

I don’t know the area of the lake in Fremont, but the paved path around it was two miles in circumference. I know because I was a regular jogger.

Next to the lake was a small, fenced-in swim lagoon surrounded by a beach. It had a floating dock in the center for diving. At the time I was there, Fremont had 116,000 people, roughly the size of Murfreesboro now.

A gathering place

There are great temporary events here — like Jazzfest and Uncle Dave Macon days that bring us together, but there is no everyday place that draws people that I know of. Correct me if I overlooked something.

The lake in Fremont was a huge draw for people who just wanted to relax or more active types who walked or jogged regularly around it. While motorized craft were banned, there was a launch ramp for people with sailboats. You could also rent canoes and rowboats. And the lake was regularly stocked with fish.

I have passed people on the Greenway, but it isn’t the same as a park with a lake. I have enjoyed Barfield a few times, but again there is no water feature there.

Call me a freeloader. Call me a dreamer or call me irresponsible. I just can’t help myself.