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Dear Editor,

Citizens of Bear Lake County are mindful of the highest and best use of their taxpayer dollars. Elected officials are expected to carefully administer public funds, to be caretakers of existing assets, and to gather quantifiable constituent input when a substantial amount of public money is expended.

Why are $200k-$300k of public funds being allocated for demolition of the Historic Bear Lake County Courthouse when a viable alternative exists that would cost the taxpayer nothing?

Friends United for Bear Lake (FUBL), a local nonprofit, has appeared before the Bear Lake County Commissioners numerous times. We presented a feasibility study and proposals for the historic courthouse’s programming, full maintenance and operation costs. We have presented grants, resources, and partners who could introduce multiple streams of income. We have read letters of support into the public record on a monthly basis. We submitted a petition to save the building with 221 local signatures. We invited commissioners to a recorded virtual public Zoom forum, verifying building viability, resources, and partnerships. This conversation can be viewed on the Save The Historic Bear Lake County Courthouse Facebook Page.

Preservation Advocates were told repeatedly that nothing could be presented to the commissioners that would change their minds. Even though it is common for public entities to repurpose, lease or sell their surplus properties, the commissioners have so far chosen to prohibit the community from further benefit of this public space. We understand it has taken years for the County to build their beautiful new courthouse. But this should not preclude the opportunity for community management of our beautiful historic building.

Commissioners, we implore you to save taxpayer dollars and preserve a significant historical treasure. Please halt demolition plans and allow FUBL to repurpose the Historic Bear Lake County Courthouse.

Respectfully,

Friends United For Bear Lake (FUBL)

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