To the editor:
As I walked along the 300 block of Fifth Street in Calumet, I stopped to speak with the National Park Service construction crew working to reconstruct the inside of an empty shell.
"What's it going to be?" I asked the man with a clipboard, who appeared to be in charge. He said that it hasn't been determined yet, that once it is finished the (Downtown Development Authority) will either look for a tenant or sell it.
I've seen some progess in Calumet over the last couple of years, but this seems to be the most counter-productive task I could possible think of - creating yet another empty building. In Calumet, if there's one thing we don't lack for it is empty buildings.
Many stuctures - of different sizes and styles - are in very good shape and ready for occupants, while others are in various states of disrepair. Regardless of the condition, we have more buildings than can be filled already. The illogic of adding yet another empty building boggles the mind.
I realize that the village is probably not paying for this work - that's not the point. This type of unproductive make-work will do nothing to improve the image or the economy of the area, and is the worst kind of governmental waste.
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Once this construction is completed, the money is spent, but returns nothing to the village, the township, or the area. If it were invested to create jobs, remove some of the current blight, or used in a generally productive manner, that would be worth the cost. Even if the location is used, which there appears to be no specific plans to do, all that money could have been saved by using one of the empty structures already in town.
I hope that there's more to this story than I have been told. If not, we're just spinning our wheels and watching money wasted.