Letter to the Editor

Will third time be a charm?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Dear Editor,

The third time may be a charm, but not when it comes to goofs. We've had two, the Air Base $1,200,000 folly and the $250,000 environmental fine ... let's avoid the third by canning the idea of swapping the McCook Safety Center for East Ward and building a new $2,000,000 to $4,000,000 monument to higher taxes.

If the proponents of the swap are successful it will destroy a quiet neighborhood. The elderly and children will be awakened frequently in the middle of the night by ear-shattering sirens. Residents in the northwest sections of the city will suffer delays in response time as emergency and police vehicles weave their way across town due to a lack of East/West through streets. A condition of approval should be that the police chief, fire chief and city manager be required to live across the street from the new facility. They'll get a bargain as home values within ear-shot will drop like a rock.

Those making the presentation to City Council on May 23, 2005, would have us believe the present Safety Center and City Hall are sitting on a powder keg.

I wonder why they used "meters" as a method of measurement instead of feet or yards ... were they trying to confuse us? Why didn't they use droobners as a method of measurement? Most of us know droobners are equal to 1 1/2 feet and were used by the citizens of Lower Slobovia for over three weeks in 124 B.C.

Permit my rudimentary review of their hazardous material "What ifs." Their "worst case" example, a large ethanol or sulfuric acid spill which would require an evacuation with an 800-meter radius.

They did not define "large," how big is "large"? For the Safety Center or city hall to be affected, such a spill would have to occur within 2,466 feet of a safety center. Taking into account the hundreds and many times thousands of miles such chemicals are transported, what are the odds of such an occurrence? ... call 'Vegas.

If we believe what they told City Council, 75 percent of McCook's commercial enterprises are at extreme risk, as well as the Court House, Sheriffs Office, Wal-Mart, Valmont as well as the new business park the city's spending thousands of our dollars on.

A quick check of the East Ward site indicated to me it is less than 2,000 feet (610 meters) from the railroad and highway so it would also be at risk and within the danger zone of their "worst case" incident.

As an additional plea, they state the dangers of an explosion at the grain elevators or propane facilities which would "level" the cop shop.

In view of all the recent EPA regulations, I would like to know in the past five years, how many devastating grain elevator explosions occurred in the U.S.? How many were the size of McCook's elevators and how many of them "leveled" buildings two to eight blocks away? Get similar facts on propane storage explosions. Factual verifiable info only, please.

The "what if" I lose sleep about is the fear of Frenchman Valley selling out to Oscar Mayer who would fill the elevator with bologna. A natural gas explosion then blows up the elevator and the safety center is covered in baloney.

The proponents don't want to join the county in what could be a true Public Safety Center "because if located outside city limits it would raise our insurance rates. Did I miss it? Was annexation outlawed? Give me a break, when was the last time you heard any management-level city employee come up with a single idea to "save us money?

Another of the arguments against a combined police, sheriff, fire station and jail is because the police department is open 24 hours a day -- aren't jails manned 24 hours a day?

Don't tell Alliance it won't work; they built a building combining a police, sheriff and a jail 25 years ago. I called and inquired last week and both said it was working "great."

If the present Safety Center is in such a perilous location, why did city hall just recently pay Mr. Harris $31,000 for land next to it?

In closing, if the Safety Center is at such grave danger and subject to such horrific risks-why would the McCook Schools want to own it?


Bill Frasier


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