Don’t halt funding for Wiley Pavilion

After reading The News article titled “Stadium funding is on the table,” regarding the possibility of eliminating funding to maintain Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Pavilion, I had an instant reaction of surprise and sadness. How ironic that this article was published on the heels of one of the most wonderful, empowering and fun sporting events I have attended in many, many years.

It was the first track meet of the season for Buffalo Public School fifth- and sixth-graders and it took place at Wiley. Students from 10 schools were represented, literally hundreds of children. In addition to the hundreds of children, there were hundreds of proud spectators – parents, siblings, grandparents and friends. We all stood out in the rain for two hours and 15 minutes cheering on not only our own children but all of the children competing. Most students attending public schools in Buffalo do not have a lot of opportunities to participate in sporting events at facilities as beautiful and well maintained as Johnnie B. Wiley. What a special treat it was for these children. The kids knew how special it was; we all did.

In the many years I have been a Buffalo Public School parent, it was my first time at Wiley watching one of my own children. The excitement that we felt as spectators was matched and exceeded by the students, who knew and appreciated that it was a special place. Their smiling faces, cheers and camaraderie said it all. I am hopeful that the funding for maintaining Wiley will stay in the budget for 2013-2014.

Catherine Linder Spencer