After nailing down a viable site on 10th Avenue, what seems eons ago, the pursuit to land Poulsbo’s new city hall downtown has proceeded so slowly it’s been lapped several times by an old lady with a walker and an ordinary garden slug.
As glacial progress continues on what pretty much everyone seems to agree as being a direly-needed project, not just for the citizens but city staff, somehow surprises still seem to be popping up and miring the plan further. Did voters think this one through or did they jump on the downtown bandwagon last November blindfolded and unaware of their true destination and the cost of the ticket?
With the Mentor Company pulling stake in the plan this week, citing an unrealistic budget, the city (minus the abandoned 10th Avenue proposal) is left with two options. One is in “true” downtown, but doesn’t fit the budget parameters.
The other? Well, the scaled-back version meets the forecasted expenses but as for being close enough so the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association can hit it with a rock, it’s slightly out of range.
OK, maybe a little more than slightly.
Meanwhile, the longer the delay, the higher the costs. The higher the costs, the less building for the buck, the less building for the buck, the more likely the city is to outgrow the new city hall sooner rather than later.
And there goes the old lady again…
But the voters have spoken. And even as the reservoir of options dries up before their very eyes, they’re being led to increasingly muddy waters and told to drink up and pay up.
City Councilman Ed Stern seems to be the lone voice of reason right now, cautioning the rest of the council to watch their dollars… and sense. After all, this thing isn’t cheap but it should be corralled within some sort of budgetary fence.
If that’s not going to happen and if the city opts to fudge in a few million here and a few million there — in the interest of the public good i.e. it couldn’t figure out how to do it as hoped — what’s the point of mulling over the costs at all?
Rubber stamp the damn thing for $X million and get on with it already.
But before council does, it should take a moment to drive down 10th Avenue and envision what it city hall could have looked like.
By now work would surely be underway there as opposed to stuck in a political and financial swamp downtown.
And there goes the slug… Man, that thing is really moving.