I agree with the Wednesday letter, “Take time to find the right decision.” Councilwoman Brenda Stoncipher, in her Herald opinion, outlined many interesting points. (Sunday Viewpoints, “What is the right use for old mill site?”) Our waterfront is a public entity that has been used for decades by heavy industry and the Navy. Unless you own a yacht, you are pretty much locked out.
I encourage our council to consider what this property can mean to future generations of citizens. Not only might there be a reason for the general public to visit the waterfront, a few short blocks from downtown, but we might also attract visitors to our city, as well. In addition, is it too much to imagine a waterfront dotted with interesting and clean businesses that speak as much to the future as it does to the past?
I find it interesting that the city planning staff, after a process that included gathering opinions from citizens, decided to discard one of the most common comments by those who participated in this process — public access. I also find it interesting that, according to Stonecipher’s article, a high-tech business park, with research and manufacturing potential, could employ up to 1,960 workers. A heavy industrial site could support 890 workers. So, why are we emphasizing only the latter? Shouldn’t we try to consider both? Are we stuck in our own history?
It is my hope that there is still an opportunity to further consider this decision, and that Brenda Stonecipher’s comments be given additional review. We only have to look at what is offered by many other towns and cities up and down Puget Sound, and beyond, to see what is possible. I hope that we can move into our future with a waterfront that is an attraction for workers, citizens, and visitors alike.