Guest commentary: Dirt bike track money would have been better used on police

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Hello, I'm Cleveland city councilman Zack Reed. Recently, you may have heard or read about council approving Mayor Frank Jackson's decision to build a $2 million dirt bike track for dirt bike riders.

I was one of the few council members that voiced strong opposition and stood up to the mayor and voted "No" on a well-intended but misguided project.

In a city with more than 100 murders and 1,000 felonious assaults in the past two years, there is a better way to spend these dollars. If the city is going to spend $2 million, it should be used to make the neighborhoods of Cleveland better and safer.

In my opinion, the money that Jackson wants to spend on a dirt bike track that the majority of Cleveland residents can't or won't use should be spent to improve the equipment of the Cleveland Police Department. These brave men and women risk their lives every day with badly-worn equipment. With an infusion of $2 million, we could purchase computers for patrol cars, repair police cars that are falling apart, or purchase additional dash cams for patrol officers. That would add another layer of transparency to community policing. Another possibility is installing surveillance cameras in our neighborhoods to reduce the crime that is hurting neighborhood businesses.

The mayor is calling this a recreation project. It is not a recreation project. This is a misguided attempt to forgo dealing with the problem of people riding unlicensed and illegal dirt bikes on the streets of Cleveland.

I am 100 percent in favor of providing recreational outlets for young people, but this is not one.

Thank you.

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