Objectivity will keep Carlton County building project on track
What started out as a very straightforward, businesslike proposition has turned into a melee of possibilities, perspectives and politics. When Carlton County first acknowledged that the time had come to update its building facilities in a major w...
What started out as a very straightforward, businesslike proposition has turned into a melee of possibilities, perspectives and politics. When Carlton County first acknowledged that the time had come to update its building facilities in a major way, the proposal generated little, if any, interest outside of the county board room.
Commissioners contracted with a firm from the Twin Cities to take a look at how county government is functioning within the confines of its current building limitations and make recommendations regarding what needs to be done to make it better.
The report came in, pinpointing the Health and Human Services departments as the top facilities need. No surprise there - commissioners had known for a long time that those departments were lodged in antiquated, overcrowded facilities.
It wasn't until the county board asked the consultant to come up with a site recommendation for a possible replacement facility that the sparks began to fly.
Soon, the major players began to fall into different camps, with some adamantly defending the current site location, others arguing on behalf of the "green" site adjacent to the county's Transportation Building, and still others lobbying for the board's consideration for land in a proposed retail development.
Several groups have stepped up to the plate to plead their cause and lend further fuel to the fire in making a final decision. That's a good debate to have, but let's hope it doesn't derail the whole project. The fact remains that the county's health and human services departments (who recently received national recognition for their accomplishments) are desperately in need of new facilities.
The hallway in the upper level of the human services building currently has to be shut off in order to make room for dentists to set up their equipment and work on clients of the WIC program.
The air handling systems in both buildings are inadequate for the numbers who work or do business there on a regular basis.
Let's not allow personal interests, politics or public sentiment stand in the way of getting things done. Let's look objectively at where the most people of the county can be served in the most cost-efficient and effective way possible - no matter if it's in Cloquet, Carlton or any other part of the county.
It's the right thing to do - and the right time to do it.