I have read with interest the three articles in the latest issue of the Reporter. I have comments on all three as follows:
1. The “On Arts” column by Genevieve Morton. I feel that the arts community does need our support. This should be in a constructive manner and not in providing gifts to organizations that use up very valuable open space and, further, to be paid for by the Mercer Island taxpayers. There really are other viable locations for the proposed arts facility. I also feel that the comparison with Vashon Island has no bearing on the issue. We find it convenient to go to productions in Seattle and Issaquah including youth productions. We have not attended any Mercer Island productions and I do not see us doing so in the future. Ms. Morton states that the Mercer Island Center for the Arts facility will help revitalize our growing business district. This area is definitely not in need of revitalization. Contrary to that, the facility would cause serious problems with traffic and parking. Finally, do we really need a place to “come together?” We have a fine, handy community center where many events take place. The original community center was home to many nonprofit organizations. The rents were very low. The rents were dramatically increased at the new center and many organizations were forced to leave. Now, we wish to go to the opposite extreme and give away a new facility. With that in mind, maybe we should reconsider an earlier proposal for a golf course at Pioneer Park.
2. The column by Ira Applebaum. This article brings back memories including being told that a new fire station could not possibly be built on the original fire station site. Somehow it was built. At that time, the public had a vote in proposed projects. We seem to have lost the vote. The deputy mayor stated that “you walk into our town center and there is nothing going on.” I am personally thankful for that. He also said that “MICA can make a huge impact economically on Mercer Island.” Yeah, our taxes will go up.
3. Letter from Sharon Smith. Right on. We should have a vote on the issue. If not, many years from now, there will be many questions as to why the whole thing happened the way it did.
A last comment. Living in a small community, we often run into friends and family when we are shopping. That is certainly “getting together.” Also, has anybody seen the dramatic increase in pedestrian, animal, bicycle and vehicular and foot traffic lately?