As Craig Fire/Rescue breaks ground on construction of its live fire training tower, the department deserves credit for keeping promises and awarding the construction contract to a local contractor as well as for keeping to the construction schedule, especially after facing strong public scrutiny during the planning phase of the project.
Craig Fire/Rescue is set today to ceremonially break ground on construction of a live fire training tower on department-owned property near Kmart on Industrial Avenue.
The groundbreaking is the next step in a plan local fire officials have spent the better part of two years formulating and putting into action.
For anyone who wasn’t around or wasn’t paying attention during those years, Craig Fire/Rescue’s plans for this project were met with a good deal of public scrutiny — most notably from members of several Craig Daily Press editorial boards.
Though personal opinions about the need for the tower itself varied between board members, all were in agreement that the use of taxpayer money to build a structure that wasn’t approved by those same taxpayers — and one which some taxpayers feel they voted directly against — was sneaky at best, sinister at worst.
For those of us involved in that debate, our feelings haven’t changed.
However the time to debate the funding aspect of this project came and went. Regardless of personal opinion, our job as journalists was to move on and make sure local fire officials made good on their promises about the construction phase of this project.
And so far, we’re happy to report fire board members have been completely true to their word.
Last month during a special meeting, the board voted unanimously to award the construction contract for the tower to local business Anson Excavating & Pipe Inc.
While this may not seem like a big deal on the surface, consider this: Anson’s bid wasn’t the lowest. The fire board voted to accept a more expensive bid — not only because utilizing local companies is good for the local economy — but also because using a local contractor was a promise they had made during the planning phase of the project.
Fire officials also talked during the planning phase about making sure the construction of the tower was handled in a timely and efficient manner.
Well after breaking ground today, the project is on track to see the bulk of the work completed before Christmas with the remainder set for completion just after the spring thaw.
From project approval to project completion in around eight months. Not too shabby, especially when working around a Colorado winter.
To some, none of this will probably seem all that noteworthy. After all, elected officials doing what they said they would do means they’re just doing their job. Why should we praise people for doing their job?
In some cases we would whole-heartedly agree with this sentiment. But the circumstances of this instance merit a different way of looking at the situation.
When two sides passionately disagree with each other about one aspect of an issue, it becomes easy to lose perspective about the rest of the issue and start disagreeing just for the sake of argument.
In other words, after focusing so much on the parts of this plan we disagreed with, it would be wrong — almost unethical — if we refused to acknowledge the parts we do stand behind out of bitterness over the initial disagreement.
Credit needs to be given where it is due, and in this instance Craig Fire/Rescue certainly deserves that credit.