I would respectfully disagree with Ms. Wilber and Mr. Zellers in their letters to the editor. If we as a community do not start accepting change, we are going to end up like many other small communities with a dead downtown area or, worse, a dead town.
The old elementary school building is just that – a building. Yes, there is history in the building. My parents attended school there as well as myself, my children and grandchildren, but again, it is just a building that seems to have outlived its purpose. Maybe it is time to give it a new purpose in becoming a justice center.
If we wait for grants and donations to turn it into a community center, how long will it sit empty? It is a known fact that empty buildings deteriorate at a faster rate than buildings being used.
How much will the cost of rehabbing it go up while trying to gather funds to do the necessary work? How much will the city have to spend on maintaining an empty building? If it becomes the community center, what happens to the existing community center that we already have in the Fairfield Center? Does that become the next empty building?
If the elementary school is turned into a justice center, the county offices that are now housed in the Fairfield Center can be moved back into the courthouse, where they belong, and the Fairfield Center can be used as it was originally planned – as a community center.
The jail has been in the downtown area for how many years? As a child, I would go to the public library which was, at that time, on the top floor of the courthouse right next to the jail.
What difference does it make if it is just in a different part of downtown or maybe larger? The out-of-town traffic from lawyers, witnesses, etc., for court appearances, brings people to walk through the stores during the lunch breaks, maybe purchasing a gift to take home to someone, which, in turn, helps our small businesses.
Yes, Mr. Zellers, those purchases could help a struggling business make it.
Let’s think about the whole future of our community, not just one building. Let’s not dry up and blow away like so many small communities in our country.
Change is not a bad thing. Let’s embrace it and make things happen.