02/05/12 — Careful thought: Again, it is not the idea; it is the execution

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Careful thought: Again, it is not the idea; it is the execution

Perhaps we missed it.

After weeks of promising the community that they would not make a final decision on the future of the proposed site for an Air Force museum until they had run the numbers, looked at the pros and cons and figured out how to pay for it, there is a sign in front of the building.

It does not say "Thinking about a new Air Force Museum" or "We're running the numbers and deciding on a new Air Force Museum."

It simply says "Future Home of the Air Force Museum."

And therein lies the concern that many people have with how the city is doing business these days.

We will say it again -- there is no fundamental reason to be against a museum honoring the Air Force or the men and women who are serving with one of the wings here.

In fact, done right, it is a good idea.

But we, and a lot of other people, are not convinced at all of three fundamentals of the plan: 1. that the site chosen is the best place for an Air Force museum; 2. that the city is really prepared for the costs involved; and 3. that the money would not be better used somewhere else.

And one of the reasons for the last two concerns is that several local entities -- including the county of Wayne -- have already told the city that they are not willing to commit the money or that they are not convinced now is the right time for such a project.

That, of course, is in addition to the ever-changing information about the plans. First, we spent money to test the ceilings to see if they were conducive to the obvious requirements of any building that would house a museum that featured planes.

And now we find out that the plan -- "never included hanging planes."

OK ...

And then there was the promise that the city would study the plan thoroughly and then make a decision about the future of the site -- and if it was not financially viable, the city would sell the building.

And now there is a sign.

The city of Goldsboro might mean well with its museum plan. It might even be a good idea -- for the future.

But right now, there are better places to invest money -- especially if there is indeed a BRAC coming in 2013 or 2015.

Keeping the base open -- and doing the hard work necessary to keep conditions ripe for that sort of decision -- is much more important than a cosmetic addition that would be nice, but simply is not necessary -- not now.

We need jobs, better schools, solid recreational offerings and a strong infrastructure.

And there is even a consideration of something even bigger -- perhaps a new convention center.

And concentrating on that -- and continued economic development and keeping the city out of debt and investing smartly are what the council needs to be doing right now.

That and making sure smart decisions are made about optimizing conditions that keep bases open.

Otherwise, it won't matter if there is an Air Force museum here. There won't be an Air Force base to complement it.

Published in Editorials on February 5, 2012 12:16 AM