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Published December 15 2012

Forum editorial: Bluestem concept is sound

In the latest dust-up over the future of the Bluestem/Trollwood center, the Moorhead City Council’s position is stronger than the Fargo School Board’s stance. The council, at least, seems to be honoring the vision and concept of the beautiful complex in south Moorhead near the Red River. The school board appears to favor returning only to the limited Trollwood Performing Arts School and summer stage production.

If the school board’s position prevails, it would be a violation of the concept and vision that were sold to the community. Large and small donors supported what became the Bluestem/Trollwood project in large part because it was to be developed as a year-round regional arts school and performance venue that also would feature facilities for conferences, private events and summertime concerts.

The concept and vision are as sound today as they were when fundraising was under way. The larger project leveraged $5 million in Minnesota arts funding to be matched from local sources. Moorhead’s participation was crucial to state funding, as was the work of several area Minnesota legislators. The effort was tied to the broader concept, not the Trollwood program alone.

The problems at Bluestem/Trollwood have been fundraising failures and incompetent management. Personality conflicts among Bluestem officials and Trollwood personnel undermined the broader concept for the center.

Financial details likely will be worked out, although the school board’s latest business plan is more insult to Moorhead than serious attempt at cooperation. There is too much at stake to allow parochial bickering to threaten the center’s future. And that future must embrace the vision and concept that were promised to donors and to the greater community.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum

management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.