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What would you do with the ice arena money? [UPDATED]

Published 10:48am Thursday, September 2, 2010 Updated 11:53am Friday, September 3, 2010

The ice arena has been in the local news a lot lately. You probably know the story by now: the construction bids on the project came in about $3 million over budget, clocking in at over $9 million rather than the hoped for and expected $6.1 million.

That’s a lot of money to go over budget, even for a government entity, and now the city council and staff are scrambling to figure out a way to lower that price tag or — perhaps — raise the arena’s budget.

Now, this isn’t a pro or anti-arena post. In my eight months here, I’ve quickly learned to err on the side of discretion when it comes to my own thoughts on the topic. But I can’t stop thinking about that $6.1 million.

You could do a lot with $6.1 million in Fergus Falls. So much, in fact, that it would be pretty hard to choose what to spend the cash on. You could renovate (or at least start to renovate) the Kirkbride building. As we’ve recently seen, you could build a new police station. You could probably move forward on a new library, or come up with any number of other deserving projects. Or, when you consider that the money that will be used to pay for the arena will come from property and/or sales taxes, you could just let the taxpayers keep it.

If I had that much government money to spend, I’d think I’d build a new police station. I’ve been down to the temporary Friberg location many times, and while the department seems to be getting along just fine, I’m sure the officers and staff would like a more permanent place, one designed to fit their needs. I’d also be willing to bet they’d like to have all of their operations in one place, rather than shuttling back and forth between two locations.

What about you? If you had $6.1 million in government cash to spend, where would you spend it?

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  • http://www.reverbnation.com/jamiecooper Jamie Cooper

    as for the police, I say let the post office move like they want to and will eventually anyway, and just move the police into the old post office.
    fix up the old ice arena or let the Hockey Association come up with the remaining funds. they do have a monopoly on local pulltab gambling after all. perhaps saving the kirkbride should be priority as it is the most time sensitive issue? maybe the council should have just respected the voters and held a referendum before demolishing the old high school?

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/jamiecooper Jamie Cooper

    if the funds were left entirely up to me, I would use them to build a community owned geo-thermal energy station. this would produce enough energy to power at least 5 states for the next 100 years with no pollution. obviously that would generate a significant amount of money to be shared with every tax payer/shareholder in the community

  • ackerjohnson

    Fix our crumbling streets and if there is any money left over hire someone at city hall that actually knows how to add and subtract and knows the difference.

    Perhaps even consider sending our Mayor and city council to some sort of refresher course where the difference between public necessities and willful luxury extravagance is taught.

  • shellyw

    I would build a coomuity center! pools, water slides somthing for all these kids.

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