01/15/09 — Costs are in: City can't take chance on Recreation Center now

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Costs are in: City can't take chance on Recreation Center now

Right now, it seems like a lot of money.

The figures that are back on the Recreation Center suggest that perhaps now might not be the best time to be taking on a project that will need any amount of time to break even.

The consultants hired to look at the project and to figure out what the city would need to operate the facility say there could be more than $1 million to cover.

And that's enough to make any taxpayer shudder.

City officials have said they are going to take the Recreation Center project slowly -- and wait to see if there is any stimulus package money available for the project.

The idea is that right now residents' and the city's budgets are just too tight.

And they are right. This study confirms it.

The reasons to support a Rec Center project might be good in principle. It would be nice to have a facility available to residents at a reasonable cost that might be able to provide programs for children and adults.

But there is too much potential downside -- especially with the slow economy and increasing costs.

City residents just cannot afford to make up revenue shortfalls for any period of time. Not right now.

There are times to take a chance, to leap and to have faith that the money will follow. The Paramount Theater is a good example of that.

But that project has struggled to become self-supporting -- as was expected in the early going. Getting the theater thriving is going to take a lot of hard work and continued investment.

For now, that is enough to ask taxpayers to support.

Time might change the outlook -- who knows what is coming next for the economy. But right now, conservative seems a whole lot smarter than rolling the dice -- and a whole lot cheaper.

Published in Editorials on January 15, 2009 10:47 AM