05/03/11 — Right decision: City has to be careful not to take on expensive projects right now

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Right decision: City has to be careful not to take on expensive projects right now

It would be nice to be able to help out the Arts Council of Wayne County by buying its former building and taking that albatross off the charitable organization's plate.

After all, as we talk about the building that the Goldsboro City Council is currently evaluating, we need to remember that this is not some business interest looking to make a buck. It is a group of people who are really trying to build an arts community in Wayne County -- and while there is some paid staff -- nobody is getting rich here.

So it would be tempting to ignore the warning signs and to help out a group of people who are trying to make this community a better place to live.

And if it were another time, and the city's (and the state and nation's) financial picture were a little brighter, perhaps this is a project Goldsboro could tackle with gusto.

But when the first repair bills come close to $1.4 million -- and there is no guarantee the space could be used for the purpose it was intended -- there is reason to proceed with caution.

A $2 million project for the city is fine -- if it does not become a $5 million and the money is in place to pay for it.

And since the City Council does not seem to be sure of either the cost or the viability of this project, slowing down to a crawl is a good idea.

Do some more research. Find grants to cover the costs and do more than assume Seymour Johnson Air Force Base will support a museum idea. Then, ask residents to pitch in and see what they think.

That way we have a potential welcome addition to the city's offerings and not a money pit.

Published in Editorials on May 3, 2011 10:36 AM