To the EDN
We were deeply saddened by the negative press given to the Ringsted City Council following the recent school board meeting.
In reading the article, you were led to believe that the Council had indicated a desire to purchase the school building and surrounding property when, in fact, the Council has never indicated a willingness to risk taxpayer funds to buy the school. It sounds like a "no-brainer" when it's possible the city could pay as little as one dollar to purchase the school. However, what is never discussed is the amount of money it would take to maintain temperature control in the building during winter, mowing costs in summer, repairs from possible vandalism, etc. Nor is it discussed about the costs the City would incur should it become necessary to demolish the building.
Now it seems that there might be some funds available from Emmet County which could either be used to heat the building in the winter or assist with possible demolition. On September 10th the City Council met with representatives from the School Board and the Save the School committee where we all discussed whether or not the City had the financial resources for redevelopment of the school building and/or costs associated with demolition. The City Council indicated they did not wish to purchase the school, and nothing was said about the possibility of available funds to help with expenses the City might face.
We were saddened and disappointed with the negative attitude presented by a group, which is trying to accomplish something positive. There have been instances in the past when members of the "Save the School" committee expressed concern that the City does not support their cause. In truth, we support their efforts wholeheartedly and want to help where possible to return the school building to a productive element within the City. But this support has never included the purchase of the school. Support does not necessarily mean financial risk.
As elected officials of the City of Ringsted (as well as taxpaying citizens), we feel an obligation to be good stewards of the funds entrusted to us. We have been steadily improving the infrastructure of our city with street improvements, storm & sanitary sewer improvements as well as cosmetic improvements in the form of demolishing abandoned, unsightly and unsafe buildings. These infrastructure projects take time & money and the City has to prioritize them -- and yes, economic development is one of the priorities of the City.
If the County Supervisors would like to approach the City Council to present information about these funds and their possible use, we would be more than happy to take that meeting.
Jodie A. Bridges-White, Wayne A. Kruse, William D. Hansen, Darryl Anderson, Kennith Lowery -- Ringsted City Councilpersons and Dan Jorgensen, Mayor