It is too bad that citizens who write initiatives aren’t required to take basic competency tests on the subjects of their initiatives. Surely the gentlemen who are spearheading the initiative that seeks to prohibit the building of an events center at Hewitt and Broadway would fail such a test.
When we encountered them at the Everett Mall one day, they were spreading misinformation. These men seemed sincere enough but knowledge of their subject was lacking in their presentation. They asserted that the city and the committee in charge of the project have not given any reason why this particular site was chosen. In reality, if they had attended any public meetings, as we did, they would have heard numerous presentations on that topic and been offered an abundance of printed information on location studies.
Let us share reasons we recall as to why this site was chosen:
1) If the events center is to help revitalize downtown, it must be downtown. 2) Parking in the form of street parking and garages, which are used only in the daytime, already exist in the downtown area, eliminating the need to build them. 3) Since the parking we just mentioned is scattered around downtown, but within walking distance of the proposed site, people will have to walk past businesses. This kind of foot traffic brings new business and increased vitality. 4) Some of the other sites were not viable because of costly utility relocation. 5) The Hewitt Avenue site is sloped, making construction of a building requiring entries at different levels more cost effective.
The only negative to the current plan is the regrettable loss of historic buildings. However, the area in general is an eyesore and the buildings are a necessary sacrifice for the overall benefits that the arena will bring downtown.
We are private citizens with no economic interests in downtown. Our only interest is to live in a vital and lively city. We encourage those who are concerned about downtown Everett, including the writers of this initiative, to become informed before making decisions, which impact Everett’s future.