09/26/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

I am b-a-a-c-k!  After four days in Copenhagen, Denmark, sixteen days cruising, crossing the Baltic Sea into the North Sea through the Arctic Circle, through Prins Christian Sund to the Atlantic Ocean and down the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada to Boston with stops at: Skagen – Denmark, Stavanger – Norway, Lerwick, Shetland-Scotland, Akureyri – Iceland, Reykjavik – Iceland, Qaqortog – Greenland, Sydney – Nova Scotia, Halifax – Nova Scotia to three days in Boston – MA.

Needless to say I missed a couple of city council meetings but I did not miss the September 18, 2018, Community Building meeting.  Now the minutes of the September 5, 2018 meeting, published in the September 13, 2018, volume 131, Issue 36 edition of the Alcester Union-Hudsonite newspaper, touched on the “Alcester Community Building” stating in the minutes the community building will be having a drawing presentation later this month.  So just how does an inanimate building have a drawing presentation?  So IF the FO knew a meeting was scheduled, WHY didn’t she announce and publish the date of the drawing presentation in her council minutes?

I arrived early for the meeting because parking can be ‘ifie’ at the golf course with large crowds, I waited, observed and listened.  As I watched Mr. Raph a principal architect with Coop Architecture who handled the Alcester-Hudson School district addition set his poster boards into place around the room for his presentation, readying his slide projecting device and composing himself for the meeting, I heard Finance Officer Pat Jurrens relay the information that Mayor Glas couldn’t make the meeting, so Finance Officer Pat Jurrens was ‘handling’ the meeting and he (Mayor Glas) wanted to suggest some architectural changes.

The meeting began and Mr. Raph started his drawing presentation by showing artist renderings of the bar area and the group seating area with placement showings of the kitchen area, the fitness area, bathroom areas, the golf watching/football watching deck and of course the city office area sans the police department.   After this anti-climatic presentation, the cost of this poor-man’s Taj Mahal was shared…$3,000.000.00.  Oh, but Oh, but Oh Finance Officer raced on like a greyhound after the mechanical bunny at Sodrac park to ‘splain that $2,000,000.00 was coming from the Foundation, private donation and an unspecified organization.  When asked where the last $1 million was coming from…city taxpayers or bake sales?  No answer.   When asked why the Alcester City Finance Office was included in this Poor Man’s Taj Mahal, the FO Pat answered, #1- to give the police department privacy?  Privacy from whom, Finance Officer Jurrens?    #2- staffing time, which FO Pat explained the Finance Office could ‘over-see’ golf course operations…really?  Oh and the golf cart storage would be a ‘free’-standing pole barn type structure instead of beneath the community/golf course building.  Admittedly I was seated some distance from the collage of posters, but what I saw of the design and curb appeal certainly did not impress me and even less so at the price tag of $3 million.  Folks we have an ambulance (albeit a Morton) building where I believe the initial projected cost was somewhere between $250,000-$380,000…?  Now I cannot say what the square footage comparison between the two buildings would be but consider what the inevitable cost over-runs will add to the projected $3 million edifice bearing the look of a generic hillbilly high rise pole building with vinyl siding and a nondescript deck clapped along two sides, but I have to say the Morton building comes off cheaper and more sensory palatable

I am and have always been in favor of a community building which will show off our community.  I believe a combination golf, community building and event center is a good thing.  Keep the city offices downtown where residents can reasonably access the city offices, their bank, the grocery store, post office and retail businesses.  There will be another meeting, go to the meeting, ask questions, insist upon answers and push hard for a building we can be proud of, that will represent our community and not depict us as gapped-tooth grinning folks, gnawing on a spindly piece of straw.