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Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Mountlake Terrace

Time is now to OK new civic center

There's a lot of exciting things happening in Mountlake Terrace right now. Development is really starting to pick up. New business are opening and others are relocating here. A new trail will soon connect the Interurban and the transit center. Our "Main Street" through downtown -- 56th -- will be rebuilt with wider sidewalks and underground utilities to create a more pedestrian friendly environment.
This is progress.
But there still is a problem: The old city hall, after serving our city well for almost 50 years, had been wrought with problems culminating in the collapse of the ceiling.
Opponents of Proposition 1 would like you to believe that it was the city council's irresponsibility and lack of preparation that led to us having to demolish the old city hall without funding for the new civic center. In reality, it has been the topic of studies by numerous city councils dating back over 30 years. In early 2008, before the ceiling collapse, the council decided to put together a task force to gather input from the community and make a recommendation about the city's aging facilities. The task force was made of business representatives, citizen members of various boards and commissions, and other residents. After over a dozen community meetings, the resounding message was that the community wanted the new civic center facility to be more than just a city hall, they wanted it to be an amenity the everyone could enjoy.
Based on the task force recommendations that summarized community input, the city council put a plan together and asked the community to vote on it in 2010. The council was unanimous in its decision to move this plan forward.
Many residents liked the plan, but ultimately thought it may have been too expensive.
The council refined the plan, looking for ways to keep amenities that citizens asked for while reducing costs. They were able to significantly reduce the cost by one-third.
The Mountlake Terrace community overwhelmingly supported the new plan, but a 2012 vote fell just short of the 60 percent required by state law. Now we're asking just one more time to get out and vote yes on Proposition 1. Support the plan that we already overwhelmingly supported. Support the plan that we have told the city council we want.
Compromises have been made on both sides and it's time to move forward.

Dustin DeKoekkoek
Mountlake Terrace
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