Tuesday, February 21, 2006

We've Got To Crawl Before We Can Walk

I had a really great comment on my posting from yesterday regarding funding issues facing our community and the high dollar projects being put forward - jail expansion, school levies, the Kroc Center, the Boys and Girls Club facility on the drawing boards for Post Falls. Add to the mix from this morning's news the Humane Society's need to restock and repair it's thrift shop which suffered water damage from broken pipes. They're looking at somewhere around $50,000 in damages before another dollar goes to the animals! This is the source of one third of their budget - one third! I assure you Mayor Bloem, there are passionate people communicating a need here; will they really get funded? In a timely manner? A while back, it seems to me, your city severed ties with the County facility and moved your support to yet another one. Eliminating funding if I read it correctly.

From my commentor, "I think there are a great many people like myself who are willing to pay a high membership fee to the Kroc Center simply because we have no place else to go as a family. The gyms and fitness centers are NOT kid-friendly, we already tried that.

It's sad that Duane Hagadone is sitting on his $20 million garden money, which could go to build a really nice Boys & Girls Center with his name on it. But apparently that's not a suitable legacy for him. "

I'd like to clarify that I am not against the Kroc Center nor the Boys and Girls Club project. I agree wholeheartedly there is a need for activities and the facilities in which to hold them to keep our kids safe, entertained and challenged. My commentor is willing to pay the fee, even if high, to have that. The question is are there enough families willing, and perhaps more importantly, able to follow suit. Will families drive from Post Falls, Rathdrum, Athol and the other outlying communities? My question is not about need but scope - and what we can realistically afford.

When I first moved here and was poking my nose around Rathdrum I was told by more than one person redundancies were necessary in each community because people in Rathdrum wouldn't drive to Coeur d'Alene. I have found that to be true - these communities are so close geographically yet miles apart in attitudes, opportunites and the pursuit of them.

NIC reports a budget shortfall due to a fall in enrollment. There would seem to be remnants of the mindset that prevailed during the glory years of mining and logging when kids dropped out of school for well paying jobs and figured they were set for life. Well, those days are gone - and they're not coming back.

Could NIC enrollment be falling, not because good jobs are here for the taking, but that they couldn't pass a college entrance exam on a bet? Doug Clark's column this morning was frightening. Answers to his impromptu quiz with a couple of teens indicated the Mount Rushmore heads were Washington and Carver(??). Ben Franklin and Uncle Sam were guessed to be the father of our country?

Priorities and scope. Boredom spans delinquency. Absolutely. Do we, though, need a redundance in facilites? Can we afford the scope that's being considered? The members of the gyms and fitness centers aren't going to move; will the Lake City Playhouse give up its theater? Will folks from the northern reaches of Coeur d'Alene fight their way downtown to a facility with tight parking to go to the library?

I'll admit I may have missed them, but have feasibility studies been done on any of this; if so by whom and where are the published results. Who is on the jail committee? Have meetings been held? Have progress reports regarding the criteria they are looking at been laid out for the public? Is the PR firm earning it's $75.00 per hour? We're looking at big bites here, I just want to be sure we can swallow it, what's more digest it.

By the way, Mr. Hagadone, do you pay attention to any of this while pining away for a $20,000,000 flower garden?

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