Letters to the Editor

Is $12.9 million gym a wise use of money?

I was surprised to read in your Sept. 16 paper that we are building a $12.9 million, 47,800-square-foot fitness center at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

If all 4,000 Marine and civilian personnel at the air station used the gym, that works out to $3,225 a person. Annual membership in a local gym runs about $400 per year.

Corporate retention experience with this type of facility suggests that there will be initial interest when the gym opens, but only a small fraction will be using it a year later.

Then there's the ongoing administrative, utility and maintenance costs.

Wikipedia reported that in 2009, the U.S. spent $698 billion on our military (excluding Homeland Security), or 4.7 percent of the gross domestic product. At the same time, China spent $119 billion (2.2 percent of GDP) and Russia, $59 billion.

The country is broke. Yet, we are borrowing 41 percent of what our government spends. Is a $12.9 million gym a necessary use of our scarce tax revenue?

Rob Pollard

Lady's Island