Million Dollar Stupid

As much as I try to maintain an open mind and be mindful of our little town’s character and the expenditure of my fellow townsfolk’s tax money, there are times I lose focus and ‘stupid’ takes over. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does I am fortunate enough to have family and friends to give me a figurative “Gibbs slap” to the back of my head which helps me regain focus. I almost had one of those ‘stupid takes over’ moments until a friend helped me refocus.

The ‘stupid’ dealt with the discussion about replacing the bath house at our town’s beach. The existing building is almost 60 years old, needs major repairs that may be more costly than demolishing the existing bath house and constructing a new one. The projected cost?

One million dollars.

My first thought was “Is that all?” That was my moment of stupid, thinking that it was only a million bucks.

Only. A. Million. Dollars.

A million dollars for a bunch of toilets, sinks, and some storage in a building not much bigger the The Gulch? Oh, yeah, I almost forgot the commercial kitchen for a vendor that will pay our town a pittance for a concession that is open for 3 months of the year.

Then someone, a friend, asked me “What if we build it ourselves?”...and the ‘stupid’ fled in terror.

Doing it ourselves is something our little town has done before, saving the taxpayers money on projects that everyone supported. So why not for this one as well? Just about everyone in our town uses the beach. Almost everyone there uses the bath house at some point.

So far, everyone I’ve talked to about this thought it was a great idea. Some have offered their help and others suggested people and businesses who would be more than willing to help, either with work, materials, or funding. No taxpayer money involved. All volunteer. Just like small town America has worked in the past and still works here and there, now and then. It’s time for us to embrace the “Can Do” attitude that permeated America for generations. We must replace the automatic “Get the town to pay for it” expectation with a “Let’s do this ourselves” attitude.

Oh, and about that commercial kitchen I have two words to offer:

Food trucks.