Water, school plans offer best solutions

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Could it be, finally, after all these years, that McCook is getting close to solving two of its biggest problems: water quality and school facilities?

It's beginning to look that way.

Hope comes in the form of action taken Monday night by the McCook City Council, and the vote taking place next Tuesday on the $5.8 million elementary school bond issue.

After more than a decade of disagreement, the City Council united at this week's session, voting unanimously to seek proposals for a water treatment facility. Although it's hard to give up on the water sources north of town, council members have apparently concluded that treatment offers an opportunity for agreement and community acceptance.

The council took a practical path to reach agreement. The turning point was the testing south of town, which revealed that well sources are available which, by blending, will lower the nitrate levels in the city's existing well field.

While that's a key step, it appears the city will still have to treat to keep arsenic, uranium and other contaminants within required federal standards.

Yes, the city is still going to have to jump through a bunch of hoops, mainly those relating to state and federal water quality rules, but the good news is that the council is moving forward with a united approach.

It suits the people of McCook because it's practical, using existing resources, the water fields south of town, in combination with new wells and a treatment plant.

The same kind of practical thinking is what produced the elementary school bond issue which will be voted on next Tuesday.

At the urging of a local architect, David Wilson, the school is using existing facilities, at North Ward, and expanding them to produce a modern, single level, single site school building for kindergarten through third grade students.

It's a practical approach: Building on what we have to get more bang for our bucks.

As a community, McCook is getting close to resolving two of its biggest problems: water and schools. It's time. We've been hassled by these worrisome issues for far too long. Let's get them settled and move on, together, with the important task of community-building.

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