I join the chorus of voices urging the City Council and Planning Commission not to approve the design review for what is currently the block that houses True Value Hardware and the Islander. Both those establishments serve core needs of this community. They also create community on this Island. I cannot count the number of times I have run into friends or shared painting tips with fellow Islanders at True Value. And the staff there actually helps people like me who, in other larger, unnamed hardware stores across the Lake, run in the opposite direction when I cross the threshold.
As to the Islander, it is a rare family restaurant where a family can bring both picky seniors and picky kids — without pretension or fuss. And in summertime, the Islanders’ deck is a wonderful place for “cross-table” conversations.
However, there is a larger, more ominous reason for the Council to preserve True Value and the Islander. We may be facing tolls that will make providing essential services (like a good hardware store) and amenities (like an affordable family restaurant) all the more important. The likelihood of tolls in some form makes it imperative that this community (and its leaders) preserve on this Island the core services we need (and the amenities if possible) to mitigate the cost of going “off Island.”
I would love to see Mercer Island develop to be more like Madison Park — with real services available to the community. I do not object to increasing density, but density without core services and the amenities that create community will harm this Island. And certainly none of us will be happy if we face tolls every time we realize we bought the wrong drill bit to fix the warped fence.
Please keep Mercer Island a real community and a livable community: preserve zoning for True Value and the Islander (and businesses like them). They are irreplaceable.