I have been a property owner in the Groveland Park area since 1971. As Assistant Planning Director for the City of Mercer Island, I worked on the city’s Comprehensive Plan in 1968 and updates in the early 1970s as well as Capital Facilities Plans. I know firsthand the importance of upgrading fire station equipment and facilities upon which the response personnel depend today. An upgraded fire station was discussed in the city’s Comprehensive Plans/Capital Facilities Plan in the mid 1970s — this issue is not new to the Island.
Since 1982, I served as a Precinct Committee Member in the Groveland neighborhood, talking to many of my neighbors on issues of trail access, West Mercer access and safety during emergency situations such as the President’s Day storm of five to six years ago.
During that storm, portions of West Mercer Way were closed for four to eight days because of no access due to large fallen trees, downed power lines, etc. West Mercer Way, an important corridor, has no east-west access south of 44th (Merrimount) except the narrow lane at S.E. 47th until S.E. 68th/72nd. This stretch of road is one of the most inaccessible areas during heavy storms. We can go for days without power or emergency vehicle access. Also hazardous are small lanes/roads/streets east and west of West Mercer Way, making access to the elderly population with health issues and families with small children paramount.
For these reasons, I encourage you to support this funding and community improvement. I am very reluctant to vote for new taxes, but this is essential — and I believe, a cost-effective proposal.
Robert W. Thorpe