Worth a try

Published 11:07 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2009

By Staff
Washington’s City Council members may get the feeling they are working without a net when it comes to the trapeze school they decided to allow in the city.
The council members knew they were taking a risk when they decided to give the trapeze school a chance to succeed, just like trapeze artists take risks when they perform on a trapeze. But that is what council members do from time to time, they take risks. Their positions as council members require it. Not taking risks from time to time would be shirking their duties.
It is no secret there are some city residents and others who do not like the idea of a trapeze school in the city. That’s their right. It is not their right to spread misinformation about the trapeze school, but that is what some of them our doing. Those same people likely will criticize this newspaper for its decision to editorially support the council’s decision. So be it.
It is time to set a few things straight.
First, the trapeze school has approval to set up on the waterfront on a temporary basis. There is no guarantee it will be allowed to move to a permanent location later.
Councilman Gil Davis made that clear before the council voted to approve the trapeze school on a temporary basis.
Councilman Archie Jennings recognized the idea of bringing the trapeze school to Washington for what it is, outside-the-box thinking. He also recognized that type of thinking is something the city’s historic-district guidelines do not address.
Because those guidelines do not address such thinking, that is no reason to automatically reject outside-the-box ideas, proposals and projects.
More than 100 years ago, somebody probably rejected a proposal to build an automobile as being an outside-the-box idea. Where would we be today if the automobile had been rejected because transportation guidelines of the time did not address the “horseless carriage?”
The trapeze-school idea, presented to the city by Doug and Adrian Soloman, a father-and-daughter team, deserves an opportunity to come to fruition in Washington. There’s a good chance people will come to observe what happens at a trapeze school, if not choosing to participate in the school’s classes. It could be another attraction that draws people to Washington, and while they are in the city spend money at area shops and restaurants.
The trapeze school, Soloman told the City Council two months ago, could be used in the following ways: Birthday parties, summer camps, corporate events, team building, social groups, fundraising events, church-group functions, family gatherings, community outreach programs and, of course, to attract tourists.
Some people are opposed to the trapeze school’s temporary home on the waterfront because its owners are using city property to conduct a business. If that’s their objection, are they opposed to Impressions Marketing using the former Hamilton Beach plant (owned by the city) to produce display cases? Booting Impressions Marketing out of that building would mean giving the boot to the people who work there.
The City Council may be taking a chance with the trapeze school. Columbus took a chance when he set sail in 1492. Look at what happened because he dared try something different.
Give the trapeze school a chance to make a positive difference in the city. The Solomans are taking a chance by coming here. There are no guarantees in regard to this project.
It does deserve a chance to get off the ground.