Editor: So the Municipality of Chatham-Kent is considering purchasing a renovated Downtown Chatham Centre. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Residents of Chatham still remember the municipality’s purchase of the renovated Capitol Theatre and how over budget the project was.
A 4,000-seat entertainment complex, flex meeting spaces and a community hub are contemplated. Health officials are still reminding the public that the COVID virus is still making people sick. Numbers are presently down, but I’m guessing they will probably rise again in the fall.
And then there’s the Monkey Pox.
Spending large sums of money on indoor entertainment buildings, where large numbers of people would gather, during pandemic times, is foolhardy.
Also, the municipality would like to move the library so that it could expand by 10,000 square feet. As a regular library patron, I can tell you that many of the library’s rooms are not so frequently used.
I remember watching a film with my husband in a room of the library. We were the only ones present. We were told that often no one comes to see the films presented at the library.
I have often been in the library when staff outnumbered patrons.
The library does not need more space. Chatham-Kent residents can visit the library and witness the large empty spaces on the bookshelves. The library could easily fulfill its needs in a smaller building, not a larger one.
And the municipality thinks it can sell its old buildings to foot the bill of purchasing a renovated Downtown Chatham Centre. Who would want to buy the buildings if even the municipality can’t find a use for them?
Finally, will the residents of Chatham-Kent be willing to pay higher municipal taxes to cover the expenses of making such a purchase, as higher taxes will probably be the result?
In these difficult inflationary times when the average family is struggling to earn enough money to afford the food sold in grocery stores, the idea of such extravagant spending (and it will be) is unthinkable.