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Let’s get on the same page

So, just what is a master plan and why does there seem to be a misunderstanding between the city and the New Richmond School Board?

In this edition, you will find a story about the last school board meeting where board members go on record stating their dissatisfaction with the draft master plan that was presented to the board by city officials a few weeks ago. We’ve also included the city’s response to that dissatisfaction.

One school board member, Marty Wold, said, “I would say that all of their plan is off the ‘path.’ All of it. In the interest of the taxpayers who we are doing this for, we might have to just tell the city that we can’t agree to their plan and let it go for a while. Maybe we should just leave it as a green space and wait until there is a time that we can come to an agreement or find someone who wants to buy the property.”

OK, do we really want to go down that road?

At that same meeting, the board approved spending nearly a half-million dollars to raze the old school - money that will be well spent.

But to take a step backward and threaten to walk away from the negotiating table with the city and quash the master plan the city has for the several-acre site would be unproductive for all involved. There has to be some middle ground here.

On one side, we question whether this is the right venue for commercial property - something the city has said all along would be considered.

On the other side, the school board knew at least a month ago that the city was planning to look into the possibility for some type of commercial development at the site.

We all know the ultimate goal here is to build a new library and at this point it appears that it is the library that is sandwiched between these two bodies trying to come to an agreement on the development of the property.

And that’s a rather sad situation.

We all know the issues with the library ... it’s too small to continue to operate as a viable public service venture. The building is old and needs a variety of updates that aren’t cost-effective at this point.

The bottom line is that the city needs a new library facility - one that could serve the community for years and decades to come.

But it won’t happen without the cooperation of individuals on both sides to make sure everyone is on the same page.

We aren’t interested in watching this project and process fall apart before our eyes. This community and the two governmental entities need to find that common ground.

Raymond T. Rivard, editor

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