UPDATE ON MY COMMUNITY CENTER RANT….
I have read some great comments since posting my thoughts on the community center. When I posted, I stated my opinions against the project – but I have the desire to understand why we would need a building that seems to me and many others like overkill at this time. A very good comment that helps to bring people like me on balance with this matter, thus helping to bring clarity is found on the Monticello Live page. Click here to go to Rick Hales’ comment in support of the new community center. He helps people like me, who are not business people to understand how something like this may be a helpful thing. After reading his and other comments, I’m now leaning from “dead set against it for now” to more of a cautious opinion of the facility.
I’m not sure of any answers that would bring jobs to the city right away. Infrastructure that would support such incoming industry and jobs is definitely needed, and maybe a community center is part of that needed infrastructure. Sorry if, in my naivity I seemed to be rebuking “elders” in community leadership on things I’m not as well educated on. This subject is of such interest to so many in a community like Monticello – it’s hard not to jump on a bandwagon of extreme doubt or just the opposite. It would be great to hear some ideas (I’m sure the MEDC would like to hear them as well) on what some of you reading this think would help bring in industry and much-needed jobs.
I do have an idea that I will forward to the MEDC on what could be a more economical means to providing a quality community center (unless it’s already been ruled out). Grove, Oklahoma has converted their local old Wal-Mart building into a classy-looking (doesn’t look like an old Wal-Mart) community center that serves the same purpose of the one that the MEDC is proposing. I don’t see why it couldn’t be done for half of what is being proposed.
So, I’m not all that negative. Maybe next big post, I’ll post something where we’ll all drink a Dad’s Place drink and sing Kum-By-Yah together!
I was on the new MonticelloLive website today (by the way, go there, comment on something, and say I sent you so I can have a chance at winning a nice IPod). I ran into an article that got me going on one of my soapboxes again. So if you don’t like soapboxers (if there’s such a term to describe someone who frequently gets on a soapbox), just click on a link to the right. Go to Google and do an image search on a fluffy little kitten or something (just turn the family filter on before you do).
The town I live in, be it as wonderful of a town as it is, has a commission called the Monticello Economic Development Commission (MEDC). The concept of MEDC, as I understand it, is a commission that will provide an inviting atmosphere for new business and industry to make the town more competitive. It’s a great idea having a commission that has the primary goal to help stir up the economy of the city. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with the decisions being made by these otherwise incredible business people. The names of those who sit on the commission that I’ve heard have very successful businesses, and as far as I know they are sharp, forward thinking people. However, when they built the new Industrial Park and the MEDC Spec building (who knows what that’s for?) on Hwy 35 East, then designated an area 3 or 4 miles WEST of town on 278; and when I read today about the proposal to build a $6 million, 3,000-seat community center – I’m saying, “For What?!!!”
Somebody needs to do some talking before I agree to shell out another penny of sales tax to pay for what seems to be bad planning. Not being a very long-term resident of Monticello, I still like to be involved and supportive of the various facets of what’s going on here. Yet, when the MEDC proposes to build a facility for $6 million before presenting a real need for it, there’s something wrong. It would be a nice place for concerts, conferences, and other big events, but will it really be worth having? Or, would funneling that $6 million into some marketing and real planning to make Monticello an inviting place for industry that will in turn bring in well-paying jobs (not these $7/hr jobs that seem to impoverish the town already) be the right thing to do? I made a point in my comment on the MonticelloLive story about this already. A 3,000-seat conference center is not going to draw any permanent growth. It may bring in visitors, but not industry, jobs, and residents.
I’m for a nice community center like the one they’re proposing, but only when there will be enough people with jobs who can afford to support the use of it.
Being in church ministry (yeah, I have to bring that up again), I’ve seen churches that will have a 150-seat auditorium (albeit outdated), 100 attendees (and not showing a trend of growth), and can barely pay their poor pastor decide to build a brand new 500 seat auditorium (hypothetical numbers so nobody thinks I’m picking on their particular building projects, but you get the idea). For what?!! The one they have isn’t even full! Yet, instead of directing the money to bring their pastor out of poverty, doing some real outreach to hurting people (what a concept!), or building on to accomodate things that are of greater immediate need, they build something new an pretty hoping it will draw people (usually more people from other churches) into their church.
New buildings, whether they be community centers or church buildings are nice. But please, commission directors, city council members, church boards, building committees – Think about the real needs of your community/organization first. Let’s keep our priorities straight and get down to what is more important.
Now, I gotta run – I need to go shop for a bigger, faster super-gaming computer to surf the web and access my blog with!