A sign at the site of the Recycling Center. Courtesy photo

A sign at the site of the Recycling Center. Courtesy photo

Allowing Mercer Island group to dictate park’s future is poor decision-making | Letter

In response to Meg Lippert and Peter Struck’s letter of Feb. 15, sadly, MICA is looking for another location other than Mercerdale Park for a performing arts center.

Nevertheless, here are a few observations for readers to consider.

• The proposed site in Mercerdale is used for storage and, until last fall, a neglected native plant garden. A performing arts center would serve between 500-1,000 people a month.

It is hard to imagine that many people visiting the Recycling Center or the native garden. Since last August, in my daily walks, I have seen two people in the garden.

• Placing information about native plants along trails in our forested areas would better serve the purpose of a native plant garden. We should put the garden where people already walk.

• Community parks are for people. Not using the park for people is missing the point of the park.

• The proposed structure would not interfere with other park activities. All previous proposals for building in the park placed structures in the field surrounded by the path. This proposed structure would be entirely to the west of the path and outside the grassy area.

• Concerned Citizens for Mercer Island Parks’ data on length and height of MICA’s facade facing the park is incorrect. In this design iteration, the total length of the facade facing the park is 213 feet, not 270 feet.

The height of the facade facing the park varies with the lowest element about 16 feet, not 35 feet. The highest point in the building is over the stage and about 30 feet.

• The arts center could be a unique community landmark surrounded by trees and nestled in the park. I see children playing on the grassy field after classes and adults enjoying a walk after performances.

Setting the issue of MICA aside, allowing CCMIP to dictate the future of this park for the rest of us, is a poor way for this community to make decisions.

The use of the park should be carefully studied with a thoughtful, respectful discussion based on best use, shared values and facts.

So far, this has not happened.

Carol Friends

Mercer Island