Editorial: Forkland residents right to be upset by broken promise

July 18, 2004

The same old roof and electrical wiring that has served Forkland Community Center, a 75-year-old building, will stay in place as residents of western Boyle County have heard that government officials plan to renege on their agreement. With architect's plans in place and bids awarded, they watch as the government giveth and the government taketh away.

Former Gov. Paul Patton came and the big grins were captured on film as the community accepted an oversized cardboard check for a promised quarter of a million dollars for needed repairs. But the promise was as flimsy as the paper the check was printed on.

Now the federal highway department says it is re-evaluating the grant applications. Federal officials say they're reviewing grant applications - grants they already gave approval on - because the focus has shifted. They're saying the money should go to restore places that attract drive-by tourists.

The state has always administered the money but is saying it's being held up at the federal level. State officials are promising to meet with Forkland residents and insist that the project is important.


In the meantime, the summer weather favorable for roof repair is slipping away.

Maybe Forkland doesn't qualify for the federal funds on tourism grounds, except for the many people that attend the annual October festival, but throughout the year it's a community gathering place where children take art lessons and hold Boy Scout meetings. Residents meet to discuss issues vital to the area. It serves as a town hall for the people inhabiting the farms dotted along the knobs. It has served the community since its days as an education facility ended and it was purchased by residents in 1972. As this symbol of unity, this historic building deserves a facelift.

If the people are weeping over the broken promise of funds, they have every right. Doris Purdom, a Forkland resident who is on the committee that applied for the money and is overseeing the grant, says they felt the government had given the green light on the project. The community is disappointed, but it will cope.

"I feel like this is some of our tax money. I thought we deserved it as much as anybody else."

Who wouldn't weep over the loss of $250,000 and broken promises?

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