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EDITORIAL: Agreement is positive sign

The current economy makes it difficult for elected officials to spend money on major projects.

But when safety is concerned, there's no time like the present to correct problems that could lead to accidents in the future.

That's why Monday's approval of a cooperative agreement between the Town of Richmond and the City of New Richmond is so important.

The two municipalities will share in the cost of improvements to 140th Street and 168th Avenue (Paperjack Drive) in the coming year.

Officials hope the upgrades to the town roads will be completed prior to the opening of the new high school in New Richmond. Pedestrian and vehicular traffic will likely increase on those roads in the mornings before school and in the afternoons after school.

Both of the roads have been a concern for several years. But wrangling over who should be responsible for the costs has been a stumbling block to the project starting.

Town officials were concerned that if they spent taxpayer money on the project, they didn't want the city to turn around and annex the land into New Richmond.

City officials didn't want New Richmond taxpayers to foot the entire bill, as town residents would benefit from the improvements just as much as city residents.

In the end, the two sides hammered out an agreement that seems fair. The town gets some assurances that their investment will not be wasted, and the city can solve a safety problem that would only get worse over time.

Whether or not the agreement is directly or indirectly the result of Front Porch efforts to encourage cooperation among area municipalities, it's clear the agreement is a major step in the right direction.

We are all part of the same community, and it makes sense to work together whenever the opportunity arises.

Kudos to the town board and City Council for continuing to negotiate even when it seemed like a middle ground would never be found.

It's a positive sign for future cooperative agreements that could strengthen our bonds of community.