Archived Story

On RTC, wait and see is best choice [UPDATED]

Published 8:05am Monday, March 10, 2014 Updated 9:07am Monday, March 10, 2014

Considering the past history of the efforts to revitalize the now-vacant Kirkbride building on the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center campus, it’s hard not to feel skeptical about the proposed $41.4 million plan to make the Kirkbride into a hotel, apartment and restaurant complex. That said, the City Council is correct in continuing to work with developer Ray Willey to make the project a success.

At this point, Fergus Falls has nothing to lose.

The Kirkbride is an architectural wonder. If someone is willing to put the funds up to save it, then Fergus Falls residents should be the biggest cheerleaders.

If Willey’s efforts prove unsuccessful, then demolition is always an option.

The Legislature has shown it is willing to continue pushing back the deadline when demolition funding needs to be used. And while the RTC campus property certainly would be a nice residential neighborhood, it’s not as if Fergus Falls is lacking residential property.

The council has committed nothing except human resources at this point. If at any point it becomes clear that Willey can’t deliver as promised, it’s imperative the council says no to avoid losing the demolition funds.

That said, wait and see seems the best approach.


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