30 Million in New Spending Means it is Time For Needs, Not Wants

by Bob Arnold

While I respect the work done by the Bow Community Building Center Committee and their Power Point
presentation, I strongly disagree with their conclusion that we need a $13.41 million, 31,158 square foot
building to be constructed where we now have our gazebo and sledding hill. I look at this proposal in the
same light that I viewed the proposed synthetic turf project that was presented by the school board a few
years ago. A great presentation but not in our budget as taxpayers.

As a senior taxpayer, I always use the standard of is it a ’Want’ or a ‘Need’? I am much more in favor of
spending $3.76 million to renovate our existing building to meet the life safety and accessibility codes and
providing 7,905 square feet for community use. There was a reason why we put on a lifetime roof.

I understand that the existing building would not be in use for 12 months, but those groups using it will
find alternative facilities. As a library trustee, I know that many groups have used areas in our library
for their activities. Community use was one of the reasons that the downstairs rooms at the library were

I also heard in the committee’s presentation that there would be no loss of revenue during these 12 months
but that there was concern that groups wouldn’t return after the renovation. I think that they would.
Yes, there was a void when Fieldhouse Sports went out of business. Does that mean that Bow residents
need to pay to fill that void? We already bought a day care facility that was going out of business, so now
we are going to build an athletic facility? That is not the business of the Town of Bow but rather for private

When I ran for the budget committee a few years ago, I remember one long-time resident of Bow telling
me that the worst thing that had happened in our town was when we started to take out bonds for projects.
Currently, we do have bonds that we are paying off and the current Capital Improvement (CIP) report as
of May of this year has $17,000,000 in proposed bonding in it.

For the schools there is a proposal for $3,561,000 for high school roof replacement, windows, and HVAC
work (page 20). The Bow Junction water project is listed as $13,350,000 (page 20).

As far as ‘Building Community Pride,’ I personally have a lot of community pride whenever I pass by our
gazebo and sledding hill. Whether it is the Boy Scouts tenting during Scouting for Food, the Rotary Club’s
weekly summer concerts, the annual Snowmobile Mum Sale, Christmas lights on the gazebo or the laugh-
ing of children and parents sledding during winter, it is a very special part of Bow that a building can’t

Seven years ago the push was on for an $8 million public safety building. The taxpayers in Bow pushed
back and we built a facility envied by many other communities for half the price.

After just voting to spend $13 million in March on the Elementary School we need to step back from
Wants to just consider Needs. Just my two cents.

Bob Arnold is a longtime resident of Bow and Chairman of the Concerned Taxpayers of Bow.

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