With the tender bids all coming in well over budget, town council faces a decision on the new Rainy Lake Square: kick in more money or make cuts to the project's design to bring the price tag down.
Let's hope council doesn't opt for the latter choice.
Everyone knows the town's coffers are not overflowing these days. At the same time, when a decision is made to create what's aimed to be a focal point of the downtown core, and an opportunity to get tourists to stop here, the last thing we want to see is a finished product that comes across as half-hearted, or (worse) second rate, due to cost-cutting.
A first-rate attraction requires a first-rate investment.
With the lowest tender being about $680,000 over-budget, work already has been done to whittle that down to about $380,000. While not exactly nickels and dimes, with the federal and provincial governments having contributed funding to the project, as well as The Shops on Scott (BIA), it's a shortfall the town should cover to maintain the integrity of the initial vision and design of the square.
Residents seem to be behind the square, as evidenced by the interest and comments generated at an open house at the site last June. There also were some top-notch suggestions from a high school class during a brainstorming session held March 31.
As such, the town needs to kick in its fair share to ensure the Rainy Lake Square is a source of community pride, not chagrin.