Fundraising for community pride good idea

Oscar Robinson likes seeing community pride reflected on city water towers around the region.

He notices Littlefield's "Wildcats" when he drives to Lubbock, for example, and suspects that Texas town must be united in support of its young people.

So count him among supporters for adding a Ram and Greyhound or Zia logo to the Portales water tower most visible to U.S. Highway 70 travelers.

But Robinson, like us, cautions against the use of taxpayer dollars for this proposed project. Private funding can pay for it, leaving tax dollars focused on never-ending infrastructure needs, where they belong.

"I think community pride is important," said Robinson, a member of the city council, "but a lot of things are important." Street repairs, water and sewage issues certainly outrank school logos on the community "needs" list.

And so Robinson said he plans to knock on doors in his neighborhood in search of donations — cash and labor — in hopes of adding logos to the water tower.

Private fundraising, he believes, will only add to the sense of community pride once the mission is accomplished.

Officials have estimated the project could cost $35,000, a number Councilman Michael Lucero cannot justify without a lot of discussion.

"I'm not opposed to the idea, it just seems too pricey when we have other things to take care of," he said.

Council members have asked the city's public works committee to weigh in before a decision is made. That committee will begin exploring options when it meets today.

Robinson thinks costs are likely closer to $5,000. And it could be less with volunteer labor.

There seems to be plenty of support for the plan.

"Stuff like that just builds a positive rapport for the community and the school system," said Portales High School baseball coach Arturo Ontiveros.

"I think we just need to have something that says 'Welcome to the home of the Rams, Greyhounds and Zias,'" Councilman Keith Thomas said.

We agree, and cannot imagine any serious opposition to the concept — so long as it's funded privately.

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