2006 looks like busy year for building

Friday, December 30, 2005

Some projects are almost certainties. Others are only dreams. Still, it's interesting to look ahead, to wonder what the future will bring.

Here in McCook, the list of probabilities and possibilities for 2006 include the following:

1. Community Hospital Expansion -- With nearly half the money already raised, and more promised, the expansion of the hospital's rehabilitation services is poised to start in 2006. The project fits the needs of the community. As the average age of the area's population increases, the need for rehabilitation grows. This is apparent on visits to the hospital. There you will see greater use of the treadmill, physical therapy and other services to help patients overcome health challenges.

2. City-County Jail and Safety Center -- This is a needed development, but it's still not known whether an acceptable compromise can be worked out between the city and county. If it is, there's a strong possibility the issue will go before McCook and Red Willow County voters in 2006.

3. Community College Expansion -- This issue, too, will need to be faced in 2006. The McCook Community College campus is land-locked, with the college's three-block long property centered by Weiland Field and boxed in on the sides by residential dwellings and parkland. The college took a step in the direction of expansion this year by buying two homes and clearing them off to build a parking lot. But, in order for the college to remain strong and forward-looking, additional growing room is needed.

4. Street Improvement -- In the past decade, McCook's focus has been on improving the highways which go through town. That work is now completed, putting the in-town highways in tip-top shape. Now, the attention needs to shift to upgrading streets in the residential sections of the community. The late November snowfall has been particularly hard on the streets, creating numerous cracks and holes. The need for action is becoming urgent.

5. Keystone Renovation -- Economic development leaders are now at work on a plan to upgrade the Keystone Hotel, turning it into a center for technology, commerce and -- possibly -- condominiums. Because of its prominent location in downtown McCook, the hotel could turn into a landmark development. That would be a welcome addition to the downtown area, which is making plans to renew participation in the Main Street program.


That's just a sampling of the planned and possible projects in 2006. Also, be watching for the million dollar Instrument Landing System, which will go into service at the McCook Regional Airport, and developments at the former East Ward and West Ward properties, which have been sold and are proposed for improvements.

All in all, 2006 looks like a busy year on the local construction scene. Stay in touch. Exciting projects are on the horizon.

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