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The NY Department of Education granted $5 million to Herbert Lehman High School so that they could finally construct a football field that their team could play on. The problem, you see, was that their field was only 80 yards. So, they had to play all of their games on the road, even though they could use their facility for practices and scrimmages.

After the $5 million was spent, the Lions indeed had some beautiful new digs. New lights. State of the art field turf. New bleachers.  New scoreboard. There’s just one wee problem … somehow in the planning process someone forgot to tell folks that football fields need to be 120 yards long (including the end zones).

In the understatement of the millenium:

There was an error somewhere in the planning.  For someone to correct it, I guess it would be a little mud on somebody’s face,” Romain said. “I’m just angry at the adults that are letting the kids suffer.”

That IS THE ESSENCE of government planning. And hey, they managed to renovate a practice football field for only $5 million. Do we not think the kids would be better off having a dirt patch, and the $5 million spent on, well, educating them? Or even better, using the $5 million to endow scholarship funds for the kids? Or maybe even flushing it down the toilet? I am sure the guys being paid Davis-Bacon wages to build the thing are happy with the outcome. Do you think even one of them stopped for a minute during construction to reflect on this?

4 Responses to “Adventures in Government Planning”

  1. Rod says:

    There’s always arena football — smaller field, higher scoring.

    Our local school district recently spent millions on a new all-weather track and on an artificial surface football field. Twelve years ago, they bought lights for the field so they could have night games.

    Before these changes, football games were played in daylight on Saturday afternoons on a turf field that had been crowned (adding dirt to make the middle higher than the sidelines) and sodded with perennial ryegrass. The Saturday home games had a small-town charm to them, with tailgate lunches before the game and warm fall temperatures for most of the games. Our high school stadium was also packed, and ticket sales were just as good as they are now under the Friday night lights. Nonetheless, the school board cooked up spreadsheets for every change that showed how the new facilities would pay for themselves in reduced maintenance costs and improved attendance. (None of the maintenance staff was laid off after there was no football field to mow and no cinder track to drag.)

    The truth was that our school district was keeping up with the Joneses, as all the other high schools in our athletic conference had shiny new facilities. And there was the claim that we owed it to our athletes to have a rubber track that would produce faster times than the old cinder track (depending on who among the student body could break the records).

    There is good news to report, however: a good number of the school board candidates are tea partiers, and one new school board member has actually read up on Austrian economics.

  2. antiboss says:

    Another win for the bad guys!

  3. How was the field built at 80 yards in the first place? The 100-yard field is is not a new ruling. Plus everyone knows you need an end zone. No one noticed that the first time, and they are surprised that it went wrong a second time?

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