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A solution for Mercer Island Center for the Arts | Letter

It was with interest that I read a recent letter from the executive director of Youth Theatre Northwest to your paper. Basically, he wrote that the Mercer Island Center for the Arts was the only “viable option” for YTN. That said, I do not know anyone who is opposed to YTN, we all see the theater’s benefit for young people.

Many of us do object to the following: A 35-foot-tall building (equivalent to three stories) installed in our dearly loved Mercerdale Park, a required 20 foot wide and 490 foot long fire road beginning at 34th Street and ending with a turn-around at the proposed MICA building, another fire road in between the Farmer’s Insurance building and MICA, and a bioretention pond north of the skate park for water collection during our wet months.

All of the above makes one wonder about what is really going on. The road alone would cover almost a quarter of an acre. Entry to it, because it would be for fire purposes, would have to be left open, which would means anyone could use it to drive across the park. Several houses may have to be taken out and trees cut down to make room for a fire road. A bioretention pond would have to be fenced. Small children, on bikes and scooters, use the skate park and would have to be protected from drowning.

Also, many of us assume that eventually there will be construction of condos and apartments with first floor commercial space on the property (bounded by 77th Avenue, 32nd Street and 78th Avenue) located just across the street from the proposed MICA building. How much traffic congestion will this cause? What will parking and driving be like after the city has narrowed 77th Avenue to install parking spaces?

The proposed MICA building would just cause further traffic problems. Why was not all of the above made apparent to the public early on? What other surprises are in store for us?

There is a solution where everyone would win. There seems to be plenty of open space land around the community center with parking. MICA could build a theater, several offices, storage rooms and practice rooms if they didn’t wish to use the classrooms available at the community center and the land would still be free.

One of their walls could be a common wall with the community center building, which would probably lower their construction costs. Most important, Mercer Island citizens would be able to enjoy YTN and other productions, as well as keep intact one of the most used and loved parks on Mercer Island.

Virginia Arnon

Mercer Island