Letter to the Editor: Citizen: Justice center a short-sighted plan

Dear Editor:
I am writing this as a concerned citizen and not as a board member of any organization. I am very concerned about the proposal to turn the property of the old elementary school into a justice center.
I believe it to be very short-sighted and an oppositional reaction of convenience to an issue that was already visited a few years ago.
It was my understanding that the county had already come up with other plans to to build a center onto the north side of the current courthouse that would meet state requirements. I have also heard the potential to build on Meeker Terrace near the new hospital site so those two entities could share some services.
Great idea, put some space between the citizens you want to see protected and those wanting to do harm. I do not want to lose that property to a jail.
I believe it should be put to use for the betterment and use of the community. It is a prime piece of real estate in the historic downtown of Meeker that should not be used for people accused and/or convicted of a crime. Is this how we want visitors to see Meeker, Colorado?
It is extremely short-sighted to believe that doubling the footprint of the county will increase foot traffic or business in the area to any degree to make or break a business.
I do believe that a multi-use community center would do just that and draw new dollars from outside the community. I personally know that on a small scale the old elementary site has already brought in outside money. That property belongs to the people of Meeker and, as such, we should have more input into its future.
My proposal is to put the brakes on this train and allow a group made up of concerned citizens and established interested groups to come up with a solution so that when I am asked by a visitor what that building is I can reply — with pride — it’s our community center.
Gary Zellers
Meeker