04/05/11 — Slow, steady: Mount Olive library project could teach city officials something

View Archive

Slow, steady: Mount Olive library project could teach city officials something

There is nothing wrong with progress.

And there is even less wrong with wanting to pay tribute to the branch of service that has done so much for this country and for Wayne County.

So, on paper, the idea of an air force museum is not only a good one, it is a great one with lots of potential benefits.

But the concern is -- just as it has been for the last year -- whether the city should be considering spending money on a non-essential project when officials are facing a $500,000 budget deficit and when sources of outside revenue are not only not guaranteed, but shifting with the economic tide.

If the city wants to do an air force museum, there must be a public and private interest in its construction. Such a project would need support from city and county governments -- and, by proxy, the people of this community.

So why not explore the possibility? Why not see how much real interest there is from the community and the county? Why not look around to see if there is a place that is ready to hold such a project and to develop a budget for what it would take to create such a place?

The former Arts Council of Wayne County building would seem like a nice place to put a museum -- except for the fact that city officials have already said it will take big money to make it ready for such a project. Buying a building like that -- and committing to such a project -- takes real resources and an attack plan. It is not just about a $20,000 study to determine feasibility -- it is about what happens after that.

So while the idea might be timely -- its implementation might be more problematic than it might seem.

But there is an example in the county of exactly this sort of community project -- and what can happen if a group of people decides to turn a wish into a reality.

The Mount Olive Library committee has raised more than $300,000 of the money necessary to get their project off the ground -- and the response from the community has been nothing short of extraordinary.

The Mount Olive community has met the challenge of the county commissioners -- to help fund their future library -- and is doing a fantastic job of not only creating a workable plan, but getting the money in that needs to come in.

Sure, there have been some large donors, but for the most part, this effort has been grassroots, people sharing what they can to make something good happen in their community.

Why couldn't that sort of effort be the basis for an air force museum project here in Wayne County, too?

There are plenty of people here who would like to see the men and women of Seymour Johnson AFB honored -- and plenty more with a wealth of history that deserves to be preserved.

Why not take up this cause, recruit an action committee, start fundraising and make something happen right here in Goldsboro?

It is certainly worth a look -- and taking the time to do it right.

Published in Editorials on April 5, 2011 10:35 AM