Third time’s a charm. The Great Bend City Council Monday night will take up a recommendation by its Convention Center Architectural Selection Committee, the group charged with pouring over applications and suggesting a firm to tackle the controversial project.
This is the second time the committee has come to the council with a recommendation. The first time, the committee made its presentation, the council was set to act until citizens in the meeting audience took issue with the choice. They said one of the other choices had more of “local” connection but was not considered.
The recommendation was dead on arrival. Even members of the committee sat mute when Mayor Mike Allison asked for someone to make a motion.
Obviously frustrated, Allison told committee members their job was not done yet. The committee met again this past Wednesday and will bring its findings to the council Monday night.
Those following this long-running drama will remember that an architect had already prepared a preliminary drawing and done preliminary work on the project. He was on the agenda and set to be selected when the council decided to look at more options.
The timeline for what is expected to be a $1 million project was originally to have the center close in January for the renovation and re-open for business in late summer 2013. That means all the architectural work has to be done prior to that. The designer has to meet with the council to determine just what it wants and plans have to be drawn up and approved.
January first is just three months away. At the pace this endeavor has been traveling, it may be a challenge to meet these deadlines.
There are some legitiment concerns about making sure as much of the work as possible is done by local folks and still falling within budget. And, true, this center is a massive undertaking.
It was purchased by the city with donated funds and the city was wise to have stepped into this breach. The commuity needs a facility like this, even if it is a diamond in the (very) rough.
But, the council now has to act on this. It’s time to quit cutting bait and to start fishing.