Future of Fairfield Center space unsettled

RBC — County commissioners are considering different options for the Fairfield Center, once the Meeker Public Library moves out and relocates to its new home down the street.
But, so far, nothing has been determined about what to do with the space.
“I have been discussing with the commissioners various options the county may have for that space, once it’s vacated by the library district,” said County Administrator Pat Hooker.
Among the options, Hooker said, are to use the additional space for county offices and/or use the space for senior center activities.
“As we move into the 2009 budgeting process, there may be other needs that surface for this space as well,” Hooker said, adding the county was waiting on official notice from the library as to when it will be out of the Fairfield Center.
If voters pass a $24 million bond issue in November to build a new Meeker Elementary School and make improvements to the two other schools, the county will be faced with another decision.
The town of Meeker owns the land on Main Street where the current elementary school is located and leases it to the school district, which owns the building. The town has a 99-year lease with the school district for $1 a year.
If the bond issue is successful, Hooker said, the school district will have to decide what to do with the building.
And the town will have to decide what happens with the land.
Either way, the county would have an interest, since the land — and the building — is across the street from the courthouse.
“If the county ends up with the building, there’s a lot of interest on the part of the county to reclaim the rock (from the elementary school) and use it in another structure, if at all possible,” Hooker said. “That may not be possible, but that’s the thinking at this point.”
Hooker said the county is discussing various options for a new justice center/county jail.
“The elementary school site has been talked about,” Hooker said. “However, whether or not a new justice center would even fit on that lot needs to be determined. Additionally, the community would have to decide if a justice center would be the best possible use for that lot.”
There are different opinions on the subject. There are those who think a justice center should stay close to the courthouse, Hooker said, and there are those who think a new justice center/county jail should be located outside of town.
“It’s going to make for a lively, interesting debate and discussion,” Hooker said.