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Editorial: City hall decision is too long in coming

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Farmington's seniors expressed some frustration this week at the city council's decision to delay a vote on the future of the Rambling River Center.

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Many of the center's members are standing by, ready to get to work turning the former city hall building into the center's new home. They're ready to start raising money to pay for at least a share of the changes that will have to be made.

We understand that frustration. We believe a decision on the future of the former city hall should have been made long ago. Yet there was almost no public discussion of the building's future until the new city hall was nearly complete.

On Monday, council member Christy Jo Fogarty said she had hoped to avoid letting the old city hall building sit vacant for six months. But it's been nearly that long since city staff moved to their new offices around the corner and there it sits. No decision has been made and it's not yet clear when one will.

There are some legitimate questions still to be answered about where the money will come from to pay for the transition. The former city hall will need an estimated $265,000 in improvements before it's ready for seniors. The plan presented Monday calls for an ambitious fundraising goal of $85,000 over five years.

It's also not clear how the city's seniors would take advantage of the additional space the new building would provide. And there does not appear to be a plan for dealing with the empty building the seniors would leave behind.

We expect Farmington's seniors will ultimately get their new building. Turning the old city hall into the new Rambling River center is the only plan that's gotten any serious discussion so far. And while, like council members, we'd like to see a few more specifics on the plan we're OK with the use. Used correctly, we believe the space can create some good opportunities for the city's seniors.

We just wish the decision had been made six months ago.

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