RTC sale should be with caution [UPDATED]Published 7:35am Monday, January 14, 2013 Updated 9:39am Monday, January 14, 2013
The proposal by the owners of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum to take over the now-vacant Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center certainly looks promising.
However, considering the risks involved, Fergus Falls City Council members would be wise to get a firm, written, long-term commitment before handing over the keys.
Of the dozens of proposals in the last decade or more, the one by Trans-Allegheny is certainly the most realistic. They are essentially asking to take over the facility as is, put on events to attract paying visitors, and use the profits to maintain and gradually improve the facility over the long term. It is a model that is working in a Kirkbride facility — the same architect who designed the Fergus Falls RTC — in West Virginia.
That said, if the city sells the property to a private owner, $5 million in state demolition funds would be forfeited. It means that, should the owner decide he doesn’t want the property, it would then be up to local taxpayers to either pay for demolition, or live with a blighted, vacant building on the north end of town.
If the Trans-Allegheny group can do what they say, then we’re all for it. But let’s get something in writing first.