OFF THE CUFF

I’m not taking sides on the issue of whether the City of Houston should purchase Oakwood Golf Club.

Not that I don’t have an opinion on the subject, I just think it’s just better that I keep it inside. But I will say this: What a shame it would be to see Houston’s beautiful 9-hole golf venue become a cow pasture.

I’ll also say this: I’m pretty sure that sentiment is shared by almost everyone in the community. I think it’s safe to say that even most of the people who were in the “against” group at the recent public hearing on the issue weren’t against the golf course’s existence, just the city’s potential ownership.

And therein lies a discussion all its own: Oakwood’s very existence. I believe it’s easy to argue that that’s a good thing on many levels.

At the top of the list is the simple fact that it offers people a choice, or an opportunity. While it’s no secret that Houston doesn’t exactly have an over-abundance of choices in the employment realm, it does feature a significant number of amenities that many towns of similar size don’t, and Oakwood is one of them.

Think about it; if you were telling someone about Houston (like a relative considering a change of scenery or a business owner thinking of relocating or expanding), you would have a bunch of positive aspects to share.

In no particular order, there’s a nice library, several restaurants, a city pool, a movie theater (even a drive-in), a fine shooting range, multiple parks, good schools, a Walmart, proximity to great rivers and other natural beauty, and even a hospital and an airport. And, of course, Missouri’s low tax rates.

And, yes, even a golf course.

That’s quite a list for a small town a long way from the closest “four-lane.” But take any of those things away and you’re that much closer to being on the same level as most small towns – which obviously means selling Houston as a place to be is made that much harder.

A friend of mine who is closely involved with civic activities and issues recently made this very profound statement with regard to the subject: “A town is only as strong as the things it has to offer the people.”

Right now, Houston has a lot to offer people (other than a bevy of employment options). I think having Oakwood Golf Club drop off the list would be sad.

Never mind that I’m a golfer; that’s not relevant to the situation. What matters is offering as many choices as possible, which can only help steer Houston clear of the path to destitution.

And maybe even make a difference in upping the number of available job choices.

The way I see it (from the “there’s still a bright side” viewpoint), even if the City of Houston opts not to buy Oakwood, there are still several months left in the year for someone from the private sector to step up. Here’s hoping that something, somehow happens to keep the course alive.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald.

Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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