An impressive committee emerged last week to begin the job of promoting a sales tax increase in Summit County, the money aimed at law enforcement needs, capital upgrades and construction of a new arena in downtown Akron. Russ Pry, the county executive, got the mix right. The group of 11 co-chairs includes a wide array of interests, cutting across party lines and including representatives of business, labor and suburban communities.

Citizens for a Safe and Successful Summit County now must convey a message that resonates just as broadly. Most of the revenue from a 0.25 percentage point increase in the sales tax would go for public safety and capital needs, the sound operation and maintenance of the Summit County Jail a top priority, along with updating radio and dispatch systems. Such expenses serve the county as a whole and, after years of budget cutting, must rise to an adequate level.

The campaign must make clear, too, the long-term impact of a new arena in downtown Akron, for University of Akron basketball games and other events. Pry noted opposition to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the 1970s. Today, the park continues to evolve as a major asset and attraction for the entire region.

In a similar way, an arena in downtown Akron must be seen as a new asset whose benefits extend beyond downtown and the university. The case must show how an arena would add significantly to the entertainment venues available to those living across the county, amenities that help attract and retain the young talent needed to drive the county and region.

With the support of Anthony Alexander, the FirstEnergy president and chief executive, the committee received a boost, especially when it comes to financing the campaign to win approval of the tax issue in November. Committee members can contribute by reaching out to all parts of the county, pushing a persuasive message about what could be accomplished if the issue gains voter approval.