Do it right this time

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The city of Cherokee showed poor planning 2 1/2 years ago when it failed to take advantage of a grant program that would have paid 80 percent of the cost of a trail from the Highway 59 Bridge to the present Koser Spring Lake Park trail.

After nine years of planning and $25,000 in engineering costs, the city withdrew its grant application in May 2005, one week from the bid letting process.

The reason was that the city did not have the funds available to pay the 20 percent match for the project that was estimated at that time to cost $120,000. The city's cost would have been $24,000, less than the engineering fees the city had already spent.

Now the city council has agreed to apply again for a grant for the same project that is now estimated at $150,000, with 20 percent equaling $30,000, only the funds will not be available for a project in Cherokee until 2012, at which time the costs will undoubtedly be higher.

The city needs to start setting aside money for the Spring Lake Park trail project and not divert the funds for other purposes.

The expansion of trails is a worthy undertaking for the city. Let's not mess it up.