Judicial Center offers unique opportunity

By JEFF JOBE
Publisher

With some strong leadership, flexibility, and cooperation, the approved judicial center for Glasgow could help another project become reality.

There has been considerable discussion to use the land on West Main Street just past the Glasgow Water Company and the Dollar General Store not only for this project but another one as well.  It seems that this once thought of as a “sink hole” portion of land has turned out to be a potentially good acquisition for the city.

A second motivated group of community citizens want the land to be used to seek matching sponsors to build a downtown city park.  Both projects have secured preliminary drawings for their proposed use of the land and both have merit.

The judicial center committee has already chosen a financial advisor and an architect for the project. A construction manager will be selected and announced later this month. The site selection committee still has not officially determined where the project will be built, and the May 6 public meeting didn’t have a single new proposal.

One might wonder, “Are the judicial center and park projects mutually exclusive?” It would take a wiser man than me to determine if both projects could be built on the same property.

Clearly, the original park plan for a beautiful large climate controlled amphitheater and farmers market just doesn’t seem plausible with the current city financial situation.  We are coming off a pandemic and $700,000 annual losses from industrial plants closing.  It wasn’t long ago, I was alone and made to be some type of “party pooper” for detailing this inconvenient truth.

However, with the deep pockets being offered to build a multi-million dollar justice center, couldn’t one realistically anticipate that dirt work would already be done, a parking lot established, and utility lines already in place?  If so, these costs go away for the downtown park or green space, and the biggest benefit for the judicial center being constructed is – I believe – that the land could be purchased and the city could pick up a few hundred thousand dollars.

If both projects could be coordinated on the same section of land, then the city could perhaps use the money generated from the sale to help match the private investors for some green space and in constructing the smaller, more cost efficient farmers market.

I would hate to see the next few months be thrown back into fighting just when it seems our city is healing and coming together from being torn apart for several years.  The judicial center project doesn’t need the help from anyone to become a reality, but It sure could help the downtown park project if they could choose to work together.

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