Indianola Port Commission makes courageous decision | In Our Opinion

We appreciate the strong feelings Indianola residents have for their iconic dock. But we had hoped for a better expression of those feelings than vandalism and calls for recall.

The decision of the Indianola Port Commission was a tough one, but it was the correct one.

Here's the issue: Some pilings need to be replaced. The engineering firm developing a plan for repair and rehabilitation of the dock was told by the port commission that the community had planned a large Fourth of July celebration at the beach and dock. Engineers made a site visit and, according to Commissioner Jeff Henderson, noticed that the dock sways fairly easily at the area where the pilings are the longest. The engineers recommended that the port district "prohibit use of the pier by large gatherings of and numbers of people until the assessment is completed" and ensure that day to day users "do not intentionally cause the pier to sway."

The engineers didn't ask that the dock be closed to the public, but to "large gatherings." But, "We have no control over human behavior on the dock," Henderson told the Herald. "We have no ability to police it and say, 'There are X number of people on the dock. You have to wait until someone comes off.'" So the port district closed the dock until further notice.

Like it or not, port commissioners did their job: They made a tough decision that they felt was in the public's best interest. Let's see how another scenario plays out: The port district leaves the dock open and something unfortunate happens. You can bet that the injured party will carry that letter from Coast and Harbor Engineering to court. And the liability will be with the port district – every property owner whose taxes support the district.

There's some good to come out of this, Indianola. The dock will be there on the Fourth of July, an iconic backdrop to the festivities and enjoyment of the holiday. It will ultimately be made safer, so that it will be a part of the lives of your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And, perhaps, more residents will attend regular port commission meetings.

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Keep our public safety personnel in your prayers
They'll be collectively remembered as the Prescott 19. But to their families, friends and colleagues, the 19 firefighters killed in the Arizona wildfire will be remembered as sons, husbands, fathers, brothers. They took on a dangerous assignment for the sake of others, and paid the ultimate price.

The tragedy of their deaths remind us of the courage, and vulnerability, of all of our public safety personnel – police officers, sheriff's deputies, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs. In return for our tax dollars and our trust, these trained and dedicated individuals protect our neighborhoods, save our homes, remove people from dangerous situations, restart stopped hearts. That they are willing to pay with their lives to do so leaves us speechless. Every day, we hope it's a price that never has to be paid, and then, Prescott.

Little can be said at this time to ease the grief of the loved ones of the Prescott 19. We remember the words in the Book of John: "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." Pray for the families of the Prescott 19. And pray for the safety of our public safety personnel.


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