THE PILOT EDITORIAL - Too much for the chamber to carry

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

It is to the credit of the Storm Lake Chamber of Commerce and its CEO Chris Nolte that the group is willing to be lead dog in the hopes of preserving the Cobblestone, Harbor House, Santa's Castle and the old train depot.

We have to believe, however, that all this is simply too big a bite for even a purebred to chew.

It may be a matter of setting priorities - which of these projects holds the most meaning and potential for the community?

It may be a matter of organization. It could well take a new consortium, or at least an independent non-profit organization, to handle the fundraising, promotion and grant-writing to save four landmarks all at once.

To begin with, it's going to take help, and lots of it. The chamber can provide a lot of leadership, but to be successful, the area's historical groups should be involved. There is plenty of room for student groups, civic clubs, local government and other human resources to weigh in on behalf of one or all of the projects.

Nolte says it well when he notes that preservation is a better option than demolition.

Storm Lake has yet to put a value on these four landmarks, or fully explore the possibilities to utilize them for community good. But one thing is for certain - once they are gone, it's too late to start thinking about what could have been.

That's why the chamber is talking, and why the rest of the community should be listening.

If we do let our treasures fall apart from neglect or disinterest, will we wake up on the morning after regretting our lack of effort?

Thanks to the chamber for the wake-up call.