Good money thrown after bad, but is there an option?

Based on the comments of Minot Daily News readers, there is likely to be some unrest at the thought of the City of Minot hiring an architect to assist with the design and construction of a roof and drainage system for the downtown parking structures — a project that is likely to be costly when the proposal is made by architect EAPC.

The two downtown parking garages have been a burden on Minot taxpayers since the beginning. Throwing good money after bad appears on its surface as a bad idea. Based on reader commentary the garages do not have broad public support.

Minot Daily News has been often critical of the parking ramps, while recognizing the fact that the current administration isn’t responsible for what was a bad deal for the city.

MDN has been critical of numerous aspects of this project: one former member of the council was specifically concerned with his impression that the council had little impact on the contract; the contract that seemed to let the developer off the hook for total completion of the project; the idea of developing two ramps at once when there were serious questions about the need; the ramps’ under-utilization and more. Over the past few years, when reporters have photographed the ramp interiors, it was a chore to frame photos since they are so under-utilized.

Perhaps one day they will be a benefit to the public.

But they are not yet. It’s clearly evident because of their limited use so far.

That said, a secure roof and drainage system are essential to protecting taxpayer assets. The lawsuit against the ramps’ developers is years in the making and could end with any number of results. Meanwhile, the ramps are city assets and they must be maintained. Whatever happens with the lawsuit, we as taxpayers now have these assets. We can maintain them for ‘x’ dollars now or we can pay ‘5x’ in the future if able to sell them or package them in a development deal. Pay now or pay much more later? That’s really the decision Minot taxpayers have in front of them. No one benefits if they fall into utter disrepair and become a blight on the city.

It’s an ugly choice. It would be easy to stake out an absolute position based on the ramps being a bad deal.

Very little is that simplistic.

Whatever the fate of the parking ramps is in the future, retaining their value is essential, even if unsavory.

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