The parklands initiative is not about Mercer Island Center for the Arts ( MICA ) or Youth Theatre Northwest (YTN). MICA and YTN have other Island locations to occupy that are not parklands. Perhaps they don't offer a dollar-a-year lease, as MICA/YTN would receive at Mercerdale Park, but those areas are cheap and they are not on parklands.
Having been involved in a few controversial community issues — both on the pro and con side — I appreciate community dialogue (preferably civil) over the issues. This is our community, and we need to be mindful about how it evolves. Umpteen hours at the mic and on email are all to a good purpose: coming to a resolution on which we can move forward. Now is the time for the Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) to move forward.
Kemper Freeman has done a wonderful job getting Bellevue to a be a great destination for shopping, dining and living. He is a wonderful philanthropist and a role model for us all. However, he is off-base with his transportation ideas and recommendations.
My wife has been working with scores of students and parents to improve Luther Burbank Park through art. It's wonderful that we also have folks willing to improve Mercerdale park through the arts.
For decades, Islanders have demonstrated via the ballot box and other means that parks are valuable assets to the overall well-being of the Island. The recently-completed Island-wide telephone survey the council sponsored once again confirms that belief. In one question asking Islanders about their top priorities for funding, "maintaining parks, trails and open space" was number three of nine listed possibilities.
As Mercer Island residents, we are dismayed by the "Protect our Parks" petition. We support our parks and the diverse activities our Island provides. Our vision of the Island is one of diversity. We love the Saturday soccer and the flag-ridden streets on July Fourth, the Rotary Run and our Mercer Island parade. The petition pursues a course to limit this community vision and to stifle the diverse activity our parks provide. It lacks the belief that we will defend our Island's rich natural parks.
The "fighting" over Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) seems to be getting more heated each week.
I've been watching and reading the debate on the MICA proposal. I still have a couple of questions and concerns, such as how did MICA/YTN get the go-ahead versus other deserving nonprofits? We could have an excellent disability center that would serve a deserving multi-generational community who historically is underserved. Were other nonprofits allowed to make a proposal or was this just the City Council's pocket decision?
Last month while I attended the Island Park Elementary School PTA fundraiser, I was surprised to see a few Protect our Parks supporters asking parents if they "wanted to save our parks" and sign their initiative. Fortunately, I understood how this misguided proposal would stop the Mercer Island Center for the Arts and drive Youth Theatre Northwest off the Island, and I declined to sign.
At Mercer Island's Leap For Green over the weekend I witnessed what I can only describe as interference and intimidation by MICA supporters toward Protect our Parks petition signature gatherers.
As a parent of Youth Theatre Northwest (YTN) kids and someone who has been following the development of the Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) since the theater first learned it had to vacate its home, I can say that the YTN team has aggressively vetted every possible scenario for relocation to keep them on Mercer Island. The only viable option that has surfaced, with support from the city, has been the current proposal for MICA at the recycling center adjacent to Mercerdale Park.
Having just read Kristine Ganes' letter to the Reporter about "frolicking Pioneer park dogs causing damage to property," I sit here incredulous that one would knowingly purchase a home adjacent to a known off-leash dog park and not take the simple, less expensive than a vet bill measure, to install a fence.
Supporters of building Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) on public parkland are strong-arming the community with their tactics. Since they have a paid staff, an office and city officials to do their bidding, it feels like a David versus Goliath battle.
I am supporting the "Protect our Parks" initiative and at the same time am a supporter of the arts. You can be both! In fact, why would anyone be against the arts and theater? My husband was an architect and an artist and one of the first presidents of Mercer Island Visual Arts League (MIVAL). My sons are industrial designers. So art is a big part of my life.
I moved here from California 40 years ago in 1975 when Boeing was just recovering. Deciding where to live (whether the Eastside, Montlake, Queen Ann, Fauntleroy, etc.) took some time, but the choice was obvious: Mercer Islanders valued their schools and were willing to pay for good education.
I would like to give you another perspective to Barry Brigg's opinion piece titled "Proposed change to Pioneer Park leash law is cruel." I happen to be one of those people who would welcome a strictly enforced leash law. As a data point, my yard is adjacent to Pioneer Park and we also love dogs, having two of our own.
Jim Horn says on a March 25 Next Door post: "Mercer Island is a fragile treasure with its many parks and spaces," and Concerned Citizens of Mercer Island Parks agree. That is why we are asking you to sign the Protect our Parks petition to allow voters to decide in November's election. We need 3,000 signatures by the end of May so it can be placed on the ballot and voted on by Mercer Island residents.
Many of you may have heard of a group called Concerned Citizens for Mercer Island Parks. They are circulating a petition that, on the surface, sounds great — it's all about preserving parkland on Mercer Island. However, buried in the petition is a specific clause designed to push Youth Theatre Northwest off of Mercer Island (see section 19.20.040 of the petition).
Electing Donald Trump as president would be like hiring a bully to be the principal of your school. Trump should not be elected as president. For example, he is telling his supporters to hurt people who do not support him. Trump is a bad influence because he is a bully and because he puts down people who come from somewhere different or believe something different than him. Trump says that if a woman is not pretty, then there is no use for her. The president of our country needs to be a good role model and leader for everyone, which Trump is not.
Katie Metzger's March 23 Reporter article highlighted the debate going on over the Island parklands initiative.