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Just a Thought - Police Department city's No. 1 need

McMinnville officials are discussing where next to spend taxpayer money. 

I sat in on what turned out to be more than three hours, over two evenings, in which department directors outlined wants and needs within their departments and officials narrowed a lengthy list of items down to five. Of those five, three were recreation – an indoor lap pool for competitions, development of The Lot, and upgrades to Pepper Branch Park. 

McMinnville Civic Center's renovation and expansion is $9.2 million, which doesn’t include the 4.5 percent interest, cost to relocate, rent elsewhere, new equipment for the addition space and more. That project alone will likely push $15 million when everything is said and done. I think that’s enough on recreation right now. 

Yes, the current facility needs renovation. It opened in 1975 and has had very little done to it since that time. It doesn’t meet ADA regulations and, if comments made by McMinnville Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord are true, the building is falling apart and way too small to meet their needs. 

I think the city’s next goal should be to complete two projects that it started years ago and failed to achieve – relocation of McMinnville Police Department and phase three of the Downtown Economic Revitalization Project.

The city’s law enforcement was relocated from the Blue Building to Red Road Business Park 10 nearly years ago. That was a “temporary” situation while officials determined if they wanted to renovate a building or construct new. In the end, no decision was made and the relocation process stopped. 

I guess this brings us down to the rent vs. buy argument. When it comes to buying a home, people must consider various factors including financing, long-term plans and if you want to be responsible for repair/ maintenance. When something needs repaired or replaced at my house, I think to myself, “The joys of home ownership.” 

The city has no justification for paying rent for 10 years. It was OK when they needed a temporary space due to the condition of the Blue Building. However, a year or two is all it should have been. Paying rent for 10 years is ridiculous. Rent is now $3,500 a month.

Phase two of downtown’s renovation was complete in early 2012. Phase two was renovation of Morford Street to the Chancery Street intersection. Charles Deweese Construction’s bid was accepted at $723,405. The city had a $1.2 million grant from the state which required a $250,000 grant. Comments were made that another grant could be obtained for phase three, which is the remainder of Morford Street, but that hasn’t happened. 

I understand that finishing is the hardest part of any project, because you run out of momentum. Let’s avoid being that guy. 

Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.