History continues to shape Sheridan’s identity. The community wins awards and adoration based on its historic downtown, its promotion of historic landmarks and the restoration of buildings like the old train depot. We’re proud of our Western heritage, and rightfully so.
All of that pride, though, comes with a cost. Maintaining historic buildings and facilities takes more funding than one would imagine. The projects present unique challenges that oftentimes prove too much for one person or one nonprofit to handle.
The Sheridan Inn is a prime example.
Years after Neltje gifted the inn to a local nonprofit, it was forced to close in 2012 when the Sheridan Heritage Center was unable to make loan payments. Only a private business entity taking the reins allowed the Sheridan Inn to take on new life.
Now, a group of locals have voiced concern about the loss of a historic building near downtown Sheridan, just north of the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library. The house has been used in the past by Compass Center for Families.
But county officials have planned for it to be demolished.
The cost of repairs and maintenance are too high for the county’s budget. Plans for the land at 429 W. Alger St. have not been finalized.
We love our heritage and our history here in the West. But, as government budgets tighten, we cannot expect elected officials to save a building that currently provides no essential service to the community without ponying up to help with the cost.
We hope a private individual or entity steps up to save the building full of history and memories. But, with funding for essential services threatened, discussions about tax increases and program cuts across the state, criticism of a government body striving to be efficient with taxpayer dollars seems like an odd thing to criticize.