Marvin Repinski: Creating new resources for our children

Published 5:40 pm Friday, March 24, 2023

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The resources and opportunities that the Austin area brings to residents is commendable, praiseworthy, and in some areas, a rarity.  

The number of people — church organizations, volunteer groups (i.e., the Eagles, etc.,) political entities and the schools are enviable. We have a community that continues to create an equitable, safe living space and fairness that is superb. In this essay I choose not to trot out failures or any neglect. It is a day to recognize the positive and energizing efforts to make good, better.

The example of the Hormel Foods Corps., similar to the multitude of contributions to the Austin area and many other points on the compass, is to be praised for plans to facilitate a stronger family life. It calls to mind a statement by Matthew Arnold, “resolve to be thyself and know that he or she who finds oneself, loses misery.”

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In drawing attention to the Hormel Foods Corps, I also speak about the Austin Public School Board. In digging into my conversation on the issue of a childcare center envisioned for Austin, you may read an article, front page, of the Wednesday, March 15 issue of the “Austin Daily Herald.”

You may wish to count the times that the word “precedent’ is employed.  My count, five times a vote against the request from Hormel for a tax abatement on a five-million dollar investment in our city’s well-being.  Granting a tax abatement is a positive encouragement for human growth of a geographical area — an incentive that is often employed — with the positive outcomes:  construction jobs, the sale of building materials, the goodwill of families, the removal of pressures and hardship of low income or unemployed families, and the pride of increased health of children provided by a professional environment. 

In writing this article I encourage the school board to affirm a tax abatement to this very beneficial, planned childcare center that will serve, over time, hundreds of children.

In an article in the winter/spring edition of the magazine printed by Saint John’s University (where I did graduate studies), Kevin Allenspach writes of his work with families with special needs.

The following quote is a look into how the issues of a secure home and childcare fit together.  

“I went to pick him  up and he’s got three kids at home and his wife in this little house.  I asked him, “what’s going on?  You guys need more space.”  He said they were renting, but had to move, and I was like, “what are you going to do?”

In making a plea for undergirding an offer for a childcare facility, I suggest we think through this criss-crossing, the overlapping of housing situations, and the efforts that are a part of the lives of our children. A tax abatement on home construction for families is enhanced when suitable opportunities are provided for children.

In the deliberation of the school board, who has members voting against the Hormel project, please support the requested tax abatement, saying “yes” to honor the request. Can you say, “we are looking at the larger picture!”

My sense is that some people are in the grip of, “we’ve never done it like that before. We only follow what we regard as precedent.”  Do things happen if only the movements and explorations of the past are our guides? 

About precedent, I recall a verse from the Bible, I Corinthians, 15:34, “let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted for them to speak.”

Add the poet W.W. Auden’s words:  “I’ll love you till the ocean is folded and hung up to dry, and the seven stars go squawking like geese about the sky.”