I certainly appreciated the Letter to the Editor from Jessica Laurin regarding what the Centre school district did during some lean times in the 1980s. Using resources available to us is important.
There has been some discussion regarding the use of the older jail after a new jail is built. I’m sure the idea of moving the health department to the former jail will come up in conversation if it hasn’t already.
What a shame that would be to abandon one of Marion’s historic buildings. If I recall correctly, cost estimates to repair the current health department building were $200,000 or more. An asphalt parking lot could cost as much as $200,000, maybe more.
What would you rather see your tax money buy? A large, concrete parking lot or repairs to a historic building?
A parking lot of some sort will be needed at the new jail but maybe the lot doesn’t have to be the biggest and the best.
The cost of a parking lot for the new jail would be paid from a bond, funded by sales tax revenue. Money spent to renovate and improve the current health department building would have to come from the county budget — property taxes.
Trimming unnecessary expenditures should be ongoing for the county, including the determination whether every hard-surfaced road needs to be maintained that way. Finding money to repair and improve the health department building should be a priority.
If the county abandons the downtown building, it will continue the irresponsible property ownership that has been experienced in many towns.
The county should not be at a loss for using the older jail building since space has been an issue at the courthouse for as long as I can remember.
What do you think? Is saving the limestone health building important? Tell me what you think.
— susan berg