McCook making big investments in the future

Thursday, December 22, 2005

When future generations go about their daily lives in McCook, they will probably give very little thought to the year 2005. Just another year, right? Only one of many years in the life a community which will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2007.

Yet, if any should take the time to study the record, they will find that the McCook community made a large investment in the future in 2005. When all things are considered -- including projects started and finished -- the total spending for construction work in McCook in '05 totaled more than $30 million.

And it's not only the amount that matters. It's the significance of what was done, and the effect the projects will have on day-to-day life in McCook for years to come.

Let us count the ways, listing the five major projects in order of cost, and commenting about their potential impact on the community:

1. Water Treatment Plant, $15.2 million. Nearing completion after years of controversy over water system solutions, the plant could make McCook a statewide leader in the removal of contaminants -- including arsenic, uranium and nitrates -- from drinking water. While the cost is huge, the plant could take care of McCook's water treatment needs for 20, 30 or more years into the future.

2. McCook Elementary School, $6 million. Already in use, the new school is a single site facility for McCook's primary grade pupils. Created by tripling the size of North Ward Elementary, the school could serve young students in the community for an additional half century.

3. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Building, $2.5 million. The new building, constructed next to the Bureau's former quarters in the 1700 block of West Third, is important for the community because it signifies the government's intention to keep McCook as a center for reservoir operations and maintenance. The former building served the area for close to 50 years. The new building should do the same.

4. U.S. 6-34 Construction (East 7th to East City Limits), $2.28 million. The project, largely accomplished in 2005, is the last link in the total rebuilding of the highways which run through town. Only a few tasks, including clean-up work and permanent pavement markings, remain to be done in 2006.

5. McCook Public Power Expansion, $650,000. Like the Bureau project, the McCook Public Power expansion is an investment in McCook as the center for MPPD operations. Public Power has been located in McCook for over half a century, and this improvement will help them move towards the century mark.


Those five projects alone account for more than $26 million. But there's more to McCook's story of growth in 2005. In Friday's editorial, additional '05 construction will be discussed.

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