Community leaders are now seeing a jail getting built and hope to find funding for a new pool this year

Another year is over and a new one has just begun. And whether you are a dogged keeper of New Year's resolutions or simply one who considers Jan. 1 a clean slate, now is certainly a time to look forward and set new goals and pine for positive steps forward.

With that premise in mind, we have some goals and hopes in mind for the Crook County community as its leaders and citizens embark on 2018. Some stem from ongoing efforts to improve certain aspects of the community while others relate to the potential completion of long-awaited projects.

First, we hope that when 2018 nears its conclusion that a new Crook County jail will be close to completion if not open and functional. A current glance at the property reveals that work is well under way and going into 2018, walls will go up and the building that people desperately wanted will start to take shape and become a reality.

Here's hoping that any hiccups the project faces in the coming year are minor and don't slow down the progress of construction. Sheriff John Gautney has said on a few occasions that the jail should be completed and ready to house inmates near the end of 2018. It would be great, at this point next year, to report the jail is open and finally putting an end to the matrix system that releases inmates due to overcrowding.

The jail is, of course, a sure thing, thanks to voters passing a bond in 2016 to pay for its construction. Could the same voter approval move a potential pool project forward? That is the big question going into 2018 as the Crook County Parks and Recreation District staff and board work with a citizen-led pool advisory committee to not only come up with a design for a new pool, but make the cost palatable to taxpayers.

Recent cost estimates have emerged from a recent pool feasibility study, finding that it will take anywhere between $9 million and $23 million to replace the more than 60-year-old facility. Should local leaders replace the pool with a similar outdoor pool and bathhouse or go for a more elaborate indoor version that aims to meet multiple community needs?

An upcoming survey will ask those questions and likely determine what the majority of voters are willing to pay for a new facility.

There is no denying that the current pool has reached its last gasps. Hopefully, those who are spearheading the pool effort can reach a common ground with the voting public and succeed in finally passing a bond. Perhaps as 2018 is winding down, discussions will have turned toward when construction will begin and how long people have to wait to try out the new pool.

Interspersed with these major projects, we hope to see continued progress on such issues as the local housing market, care for the homeless, the job market and more. We urge our local leaders to continue to apply what has worked climbing out of the recession while finding new ways to think outside the box and move the community forward.

2018 will certainly present its challenges, but hopefully when it is time for that year to be over and a new one to begin, we can look back and celebrate some new success stories.

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