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Carnegie more worthy than Sanford Center

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I no longer even know what emotions I feel when I read, almost simultaneously, about the Save the Carnegie Library folks begging for nickels to save one of our most treasured community resources, while the city council votes to give the failing and flailing civic dinosaur, the Sanford Center, over $100,000 to “renovate” its meeting rooms.

Let’s see – the Carnegie Library was built in 1909 – 104 years ago. The Sanford Center opened in 2010 – three years ago. Which would seem to be more worthy of civic dollars for renovation?

But irrespective of the moral corruption and misshapen civic priorities this situation reflects, we should not be surprised that it exists. We only need to remind ourselves periodically of the nearly criminal hustle by which the Big Mausoleum on the south shore came into existence.

Consultants questioned it, the community doubted it, the vote to approve it was based on immoral, if not outright illegal, manipulations of an unsuspecting and poorly informed BSU student body, the deal for the polluted land on which it is sited was cobbled together based on incredibly suspect projections and arrangements, designs were modified willy-nilly to meet budget limitations, and shovels were put in the ground with astonishing haste for fear that the coalition of support for the Big Rink was too fragile to survive. But, despite all the red flags against it, it got built, just in time to have the grand dreams for BSU’s hockey empire crumble, sticking BSU with a bill it can ill afford to pay.

Now we’re all on the hook for it, and probably for a whole lot of private development tie-ins that will begin, at least in theory, as magnanimous enterprises purported to create jobs and make our little frozen burg a destination spot for folks across the planet.

I hope our civic leaders are keeping a close eye on the endless grabbing at our civic pocket books by the Big Rink’s supporters and hangers on, and that they don’t get suckered into the famous fallacy of “too big to fail.” $100,000 for “renovations” here, subsidized walkways to hotels there – the tap is open, while we don’t even notice the dribbling

Meanwhile, the Save the Carnegie folks are begging for nickels.

Perhaps they should consider putting a hockey rink in the Carnegie basement as part of their renovation plans. Then they would be swimming (or skating) in dollars.

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