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Letter: City choosing wrong use for public works building

By Ronald A. Wood, PhD, Worthington After considerable thought and many conversations with other constituents, I venture out to the letter to editor format. Other than my desire for our community to move forward, I have no dog in the fight for th...

By Ronald A. Wood, PhD, Worthington

 

After considerable thought and many conversations with other constituents, I venture out to the letter to editor format. Other than my desire for our community to move forward, I have no dog in the fight for the use of the MC Fitness building or the use of what is often called the hospital sale funds.

I remind our city council and key city administrators of a recent outcome of the Bio-Science Conference was a conversation with young professionals about the lack of things to do in our community. This plays a role in their desires with respect to staying in our community or moving on to other communities that offer more to the lifestyle expected to be present in a growing and vibrant community. The decision to move forward with purchase and conversion of the MC Fitness building to a public works building is the loss of a once and only once chance to ensure a winter facility that allows for activities for all of our diverse community.

The facility as it stands is ready to be used for ongoing activity uses - and many not currently present due to lack of interest in ownership to push the envelope of potential uses. It would give our community a regional leg up on other communities that appear to be leaving us in the dust recently. This facility offers the opportunity to provide a sustainable community - and large environment - activity center. The demand is there, if one would take the time to have open discussions with our minority community, the college, local school districts and citizen groups. Because of the high bay area only found in sports facilities and large-scale manufacturing, it cannot be fully utilized without major renovations to make it cost-effective.

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This is not a case in denying the needs of public works, but a plea to make the best use of an iconic facility found in our city. No private investor would rebuild such a facility given our current environment. Thus, once converted, we again take a back seat to the progressive moves of other communities in the southwest region.

One final point is if the city moves forward with the project as a public works building, it is inappropriate to use the hospital sale proceeds to fund the project. This is a project that should be funded by a capital bonding process. The council of past years hoped current and future councils would be good keepers of these funds to insure they exist for future generations. Next will be the repair of roads, work on maintenance of city hall and other funds that should be paid for out of funds generated by property tax.

In no way is this letter meant to reduce the needs of public works and parks and recreation, but rather a plea to not destroy an outlet for winter/spring activities.   

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