Letter to the Editor

Recharge Our Community is dividing it

 

Dear Editor,

In their zeal to create a new city park, the Recharge Our Community group promoting the park is not recharging our community, but dividing it. Should the city commission go along with their recommendation, it will only divide the city farther. There is ample evidence that a majority of Lewistown’s residents do not support the development of what some call the Creekside Park if it means the destruction of an historic building.

The ROC Youth Engagement committee is proposing to develop the area across east Main Street from the Yogo Inn as a park. For some reason they have discarded the name “park” in favor of calling it a pavilion-marketplace. But whatever name they use, they are dividing the city.

Part of the problem is the manner in which the newly formed committee went about developing this park. Just as soon as the city purchased the Gamble-Robinson Co. warehouse, sometimes called the Mill Building, and as soon as it was decided to demolish it and put a park in its place, the city should have turned the matter over to the Lewistown Historic Resources Commission for review and recommendation. This the city did not do. It allowed the ROC committee to continue to meet and develop the park behind closed doors. Although the ROC group that is promoting the park has had many meetings since its inception, it has had no open meetings on this matter.

Despite claims to the contrary by an ROC spokesman, I can find no evidence of a properly noticed Youth Engagement committee meeting. No real effort has been made to encourage the public’s input on this project. While some of those who support the retention of the Gamble-Robinson building do not support development of a park – they think Lewistown has enough parks – an assurance by the city that the Gamble-Robinson warehouse will be retained would bring the city together in support for a park.

Lewistown can have its cake and eat it too. All the city commission has to do is assure that this historic landmark building will not be destroyed. The city then will retain a structure that is important to its history and it will have a pavilion and marketplace location that many want. This is a compromise that allows both sides to win.

 

Jim Dullenty 

Lewistown

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