Letter to the Editor: Downtown health most important

Dear Editor:
A discussion walking the streets leaves me very concerned about the future of Meeker. Should we move the Justice Center east of town near or sharing the proposed new hospital site?
All this excitement about new and free is completely overlooking the health of our downtown — if the new action is two miles east of central Meeker, can the core city survive?
I don’t think there has ever been a moment in our history that we’ve had a weaker economy on Main Street — or more vacancies — or more merchants hanging on, hoping against hope that tomorrow will get better.
Part of the problem is this concept of protecting our “territory” — the idea that the town is different than our county or that the schools are different than our hospital is fairly absurd. All are paid and maintained by the same pockets and the same families’ needs. On and on, the turf protection goes, sinking everyone even deeper.
Take the old elementary school down! If it was not good enough for our children, then don’t try to make a silk purse out of it! It cannot do the job to attract modern mentality nor 21st century business. Put the Justice Center downtown. Design the additional area to preserve our unique open downtown yet bring in additional business as well.
Town and county get together! Don’t wait for the other to lead the way. Unite, bring all the citizens to a working unity. Not only must you plan for the future, but you must also work to erase old “ways of doing things.” It would be nice if we became a flagship of unison and prosperity.
A wise old banker once advised my brother and me that if someone gave us the Empire State Building to refuse it — because it would break us! This thought that the land is “free” and it’s “only two miles away” to the eastern location has some holes in it. Rangely would gladly find “free land” if the courthouse and new Justice Center wants to locate there if we are not concerned about our downtown.
I have listened to young mothers who live from two to 10 miles away from the core of the town admit that seemingly limited mileage added so many miles to their car’s speedometer as they ferried their children to school, hospital, downtown or a friend’s home several times a day. Now our leadership wants us to believe that the two miles to East Meeker is insignificant? Just do the math by the planned relocations — mile upon mile — and the bills grow.
Free? Yes; for three minutes, perhaps. This free business could become the most expensive effort we might have to overcome.
I’m certain that the school board is questioning the “sweetness” of the free BLM building hanging around its neck.
Flagship or battle worn? What course and what vessel will our leadership take us on?
Gus R. Halandras
Meeker­