Why build the new lodge on the old Finch Lodge site?
A few of the questions everyone is asking:
Were the complete, unbiased facts laid out for the full board? - Along with the scores of letters pleading the case for saving Finch Lodge? Can anyone explain why the board would choose a plan that spends precious donation dollars to create a "false sense of history"*? Especially considering the kids could have a well-designed new dining hall in a safer, more convenient location and the real Finch Lodge for less total expense? Did the board consider the expense of an access road suitable for semi's?
Could this be about someone's idea of a good view of the lake? Given the facts: the huge cost of the beefed up access road, the extra expense of designing Finch Lodge elements into a new lodge, and the fact that the much-loved, National Historic Register-eligible old lodge is located where it is located, can the Council really afford that "better view"? Could they afford that access road even if a priceless cultural resource were not in the way? What is a purported "better view" going to do for area youth?
Which will benefit the kids more; 1. a new dining hall with a close-up view of the lake or 2. a new dining hall with an expansive view of the lake framed by tree-covered mountains and program activities inside a fun, exciting link to Scouting's past? Which will educate and enrich more? Which models citizenship and responsible stewardship of valuable resources?
If it's not about the view, what is it really about? Did the consulting engineer from the National office point us toward this strange illogical path? Could the modest knowledge and limited hours of one person be allowed to have such a devastating effect on a whole council? Why has no one asked for a formal estimate or evaluation from a professional preservationist? How much will that access road cost in dollars? - in land? How has the board made such an important decision with such limited information? Are a majority of executive board members following the advice of a few members who got headed off in the wrong direction? or as a Nickel Niks notice puts it: "Is Executive board sleeping? Is common sense dead?" (2/2/07)
How much have the professional ambitions of the Council Executive contributed to this mess? Is he trying to promote the plan he thinks the National office would prefer? Is he consciously or unconsciously building his resume at the expense of our council's best interests? Has he truly convinced himself that bulldozing Finch Lodge will help Inland Northwest Scouting? Will he then move on and leave our council with a permanent hole in its soul?
... The questions go on and on but return again and again to Why not build closer to North Shore Road and leave Finch Lodge in place?
* "...constructing a new lodge modeled after Zittel’s original design is not a viable solution from a preservation standpoint. The original lodge remains standing; why demolish it to build a facsimile. Furthermore, salvaging character-defining features from the existing lodge for use in a newly constructed building does not necessarily preserve the historic building; it simply creates a false sense of history." (Excerpt from Washington Trust letter to the board)
Of course, anytime there are so many questions with so few answers, rumors and sinister conspiracy theories abound:
Following is an example of just one
of the "theories" that has sprung up to make sense of the incomprehensible
decision made behind closed doors by the executive board.
The council starts removing boy scouts [boy scout summer camp sessions] and history [Finch Lodge] from camp.
Puts in cub program
Cub program fails, or does not bring in sufficient income due to lower
number of cubs who attend camps.
Council says "why are we wasting money, trying to run Camp Cowles
when we have two other camps in the council."
No one cares because scouts and history are gone.
Camp reverts back to Cowles family.
Council gets large donation from Cowles family.
Our rumor source went on to comment:
Extremely possible this is nothing but an overactive imagination.
But people keep asking. "Why is the council willing to spend more
money to destroy scouting history, when they can spend less and keep it? Not to
mention get massive amounts of good PR while they're at it?"