Tri-Citians have been tossing around the idea of an aquatics center for 20 years now and a performing arts center for at least that long.
The lack of progress on these long-awaited projects makes people eager to get moving, even if they don't know exactly where they're headed.
That's human nature. So is the tendency to push for a favorite project, even at the risk of being self-serving. (We're not going to name any names.)
The truth is, however, that these and other civic projects have been on the drawing board for a long time, and a hasty move now may be exactly the wrong decision.
Never miss a local story.
We're also growing impatient. A part of us just wants to see some ground broken somewhere.
But the analytical part of our collective wisdom supports the Tri-Cities Regional Public Facilities District's decision to apply the brakes on a new process that could help fill the community's wish list.
Instead of rushing a few popular projects to the ballot, the board decided to first listen to a consultant's report on the accuracy, completeness and reasonableness of the costs for each idea.
A haphazard plan that failed could sour voters on a better plan later.
More dangerous, though, would be a shortsighted plan that passed.
We have been watching as Wenatchee struggles with its Toyota Center, which stumbled into default Dec. 1.
It appears Wenatchee may be on the hook for the $42 million debt. It would cripple city government. And while the city waits for the situation to play out, its legal fees continue to mount.
It's a scenario we would hate to see repeated in the Tri-Cities. It especially would be regrettable if it was caused by a lack of due diligence.
One lesson that we've learned from Wenatchee is to be skeptical when the projected revenues from a proposed facility sound too good to be true.
It's one thing to build a project, but taxpayers need a clear picture of the expected cost of not only the debt, but also upkeep and other operating expenses.
Sometimes coming up with that number is a little bit like looking in a crystal ball.
That's why taking the time to get an independent consultant's recommendation is worth the cost -- in money and time.
Each of projects under consideration face unique challenges.
For example, the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center qualifies for funds that will sunset before next year if they don't get something put in the ground.
Waiting another year before going to taxpayers for approval could sideline a project that the community has been working on for almost 10 years and already has raised $25 million.
On the other hand, the aquatic center's proposal may benefit from a little longer lead time. Last year, two private developers stepped forward with plans to build separate water parks.
That pool of candidates has drained down to one now, but Jim Hale said his plan still is viable and he's working on securing funding.
If private investors can put together an aquatics center that will meet the need for water play in this market, they should be allowed to do so without competition from the government.
Plus, the taxpayers then could put their money toward a different project.
Proposals for a performing arts center and an exhibition hall adjacent to the Three Rivers Convention Center face different considerations.
It's important to take the time now to put a reasoned and informed proposal to the voters. Anything less puts these much-needed projects at risk.