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Now is the time to act on the facilities deal

Thursday night, a promise was made to the people of Greenville High School and those affiliated with the Tigers' athletic programs.

&#8220We're going to build them an athletic facility,” Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said to the crowd gathered at the football banquet. &#8220Anybody that works as hard as these guys deserve the best.”

The statement from the Greenville mayor drew a thunderous applause, but is it really going to happen?

I'll believe it when I see it.

Butler County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney was on hand for the banquet, but he made no such promises.

Recently, Looney brought before the Butler County Commission a proposal for a half-cent sales tax increase to fund the badly needed renovations and repairs to all of the county's schools, but left off the proposal was the plan for an athletic complex at Greenville.

When it comes to a choice to fix schools or build athletic fields, the answer is obvious.

But how long can Greenville High School compete athletically with other programs without proper athletic facilities?

More importantly, how long can Greenville keep around a coach like Bryant Vincent without moving on the facilities deal?

My guess is not long.

Vincent has pledged his support to the Tigers and I, for one, truly believe him.

There is limitless potential in the future of Tiger athletics and Vincent is the type of guy who can nurture that talent and make it grow.

Just look at this year's football team.

Although the athletic facilities are not included in the tax proposal, the money can be raised through private donations, bonds and, more importantly, you.

Nothing worth working for ever came easy, and getting athletic fields built at Greenville High School will not be easy.

It may take more tax dollars, it may take pure elbow grease, but one thing is for certain: it won't happen unless you, the citizens of Greenville, demand it.

So don't wait for tomorrow to do something about it.

Act now.

Austin Phillips is The Greenville Advocate sports editor. He can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 122, by fax at 382-7104 or by e-mail at austin.phillips@greenvilleadvcate.com.