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Editorial: HUB project in Perham is example of forward thinking

It isn't very often that communities are proactive in addressing potential issues. It's even less often that small towns lead the way in innovative ideas. We should be so incredibly proud as we look at the HUB project that both are the case in Perham. This is a project that has never before been done in the state of Minnesota—it is literally groundbreaking. It is a project that nobody is going to get rich off of. It is being dreamed up and planned by a group of individuals in this community that have no personal gain to be had by this but are truly volunteers and community leaders who want to see something extraordinary come to fruition for the town. The other alternative is to do nothing and spend $1.5 million to simply tear down the old school, and what kind of an investment is that for taxpayers? Instead, all eyes are on the future.

For those still unfamiliar with the project, the HUB Family Service Center is still very much a plan in the making, but it essentially will take the high school building (set to be vacated at the end of this year as the new one will be ready in the fall) and use it or its land or both to build a complex that would house several different community-based organizations. The Perham Area Community Center right next door would also be expanded and renovated to meet the needs of a community that has clearly shown a demand for it.

The Hub is to be a "one stop" place for families and community members looking for services and recreation, ranging from a Family Wellness Center to a 24-7 daycare facility to the 4-H to the Boys and Girls Club. The plan is to also house a Work Force Training and Development Center, provide senior citizen resources, Adult Basic Education, PRYD Gymnastics and Kids Fitness Center, History Arts & Cultural Association, Empowering Kids Autism Center and so much more. Bringing everything into one campus like this is an amazing idea and one we hope the community not only embraces, but participates in as the plan takes flight.

Of course all of this will require money, and the amount varies depending on which of the options the community chooses. The last part of that sentence is crucial. HUB committee members will ultimately be the ones making the final decision on plans according to whether or not the state kicks in the $10 million they're asking for, but it's important that community members accept the invitation HUB committee members have extended to be involved. If the money invested into this project is important enough for you to speak out with opinions; If you think you will have something to say about how the project all turned out in the end; If you believe you or your family or friends will end up using this facility, get informed and be part of the process now while it is still being formed. It is not fair when people show up at the 11th hour of a project and start criticizing decisions. If you foresee this being important or impactful to you, learn about it and be of assistance now. This is a community project through and through. Perham should be proud to be breaking the mold and paving the way towards something that, if done right, can be the crown jewel of Perham and a place the rest of Minnesota can look to for an example of forward thinking and community pride.