Len Browning: Safe passage

Recently we upgraded the portion of our property that borders Ninth Street here in Craig.

Where formerly large river rock bordered this section we now have a concrete sidewalk. I originally opposed this expenditure, citing our finite, limited resources and other projects screaming for priority.

Even though the project was promised to receive discounts from local suppliers for materials and much of the labor would be donated I still questioned the need, timing and wisdom of making a new sidewalk a priority.

My mind (and heart) was changed as I listened to numerous members of our church talk about the unsightly river rock which does not fit the style of the rest of our landscape now, the inability to walk on it or use it and the opportunity to “give a gift” to the community in a safe passage off a busy street setting the precedent for other property owners to do the same when changing or upgrading their property adjacent to Ninth Street.

It was for the third reason that I finally acquiesced.

Churches and other non-profits are exempt from paying property taxes and often compete with the private sector in their fundraising and other enterprises. Some people are very frustrated by this reality and promote a change in the laws that would remove the property tax exemption for non-profit property owners and require non-profits to collect and pay sales taxes when they enter the marketplace.

If organizations like ours are going to continue to enjoy tax shelter we must take advantage of every opportunity to do what is right and good for the community with our property. Unsightly, poorly maintained buildings and land are an offense to the community and ultimately to God.

While the mission of churches and ministries should never be about their buildings and land, there should be an inherent desire to be responsible in this regard. Our property and the maintenance of it reveal our view of our God and provide another opportunity to be excellent in all we do.

I am proud that we are among the first property owners to address the need for a sidewalk along Ninth Street here in Craig. I think God is happy too.

Maybe over the next several years there will be a safe pathway from our middle school to our high school along Ninth Street.

After all, it’s just a sidewalk…or is it?

Romans 12:13: Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15: Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16: Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17: Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone

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