Council adopts youth sailing program

Published on Thu, Feb 14, 2008 by ara Nelson

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Council adopts youth sailing program

By Tara Nelson

After a speculative cost-benefit analysis of providing recreational activities for youth, Blaine City Council voted 3-2 to approve a $1,500 service contract with Drayton Harbor Maritime’s community sailing program.

The program, headed by Blaine resident Ron Snyder, would offer U.S. Sailing Association-certified youth sailing classes starting this summer.
Blaine councilmembers Jason Overstreet and Scott Dodd said they supported the idea of the program but because of a predicted economic downcycle, they were afraid it would encourage other groups to ask for similar funding during tight financial times.

“What this could mean as we go down this larger path is not a place where I want to take this city,” Overstreet said. “I would like to see you find funding for this from private sources.”

Snyder, a certified instructor and retired Seattle school teacher, said he had already collected $2,500 as well as donations of goods and services from local businesses and would be donating his time to teach the courses at a below-market rate for both youth and adults.

“This is only one of the things I’m doing,” he said. “I’m donating almost my entire project as it is to teach this class for free and to go around and collect nickels from people is not worth my time. I’m not asking for a hand-out here; I’m asking for a service contract.”

Several audience members such as Dennis Olason and Lois Franco agreed. Another unidentified man said he participated in a similar program in the Seattle area and bought a boat and a marina slip later in life.

In addition, he said the program could be an opportunity to build a culture around a city with a nautical image.

“This adds value to the community and creates an image of white sails on the water on Saturday afternoon,” he said. “Don’t look at a $1,500 snowball; take it as a challenge to see how we could do more of these kinds of things.”

Blaine mayor Bonnie Onyon agreed, adding that the decision would represent the citizens’ wishes and make a statement about the priorities of elected officials.

“We always say how much we need to focus on our youth and this is an opportunity to do that,” she said. “I am not worried about a snowball effect, I just think it's a darn good precedent. More than the money, it’s making a statement.

Council member John Liebert said he agreed but did not want to offer price reductions for adults.

Liebert, Onyon and Harry Robinson voted in favor of the amendment. Overstreet and Dodd voted against it.