Federal Way’s paved paradise | Andy Hobbs

The mall's parking lot hosted a classic car show, a sand sculpting festival and a farmers market. The events claimed their own sections of asphalt that stretched from Sears to Macy's. The Northwest Sand Festival continues through Sept. 3, and the Federal Way Farmers Market runs Saturdays through October.

Kelly Road Farm brought fresh-picked corn to the Federal Way Farmers Market last weekend.

Federal Way loves parking lots.

Last Saturday, The Commons mall was transformed into the destination it was meant to be, thanks to surplus parking.

The mall’s parking lot hosted a classic car show, a sand sculpting festival and a farmers market. The events claimed their own sections of asphalt that stretched from Sears to Macy’s. The Northwest Sand Festival continues through Sept. 3, and the Federal Way Farmers Market runs Saturdays through October.

The three festivals combined last Saturday to test and prove the potential for the parking lot.

What is that potential? The ability to attract a crowd.

As a host for cultural and family activities, the mall adds another dimension to the city’s economy. The mall enhances quality of life by playing the role of a central destination — a common space where people come together to play and seek entertainment.

Saturday’s steady crowd buzzed along with live music and announcements. Note the word “crowd.” The mall’s parking lot bustled with people of all shapes and sizes and incomes and interests.

The mall has hosted such events for years. The parking lot is the de-facto town square, chosen by the people of Federal Way over the years, whether they knew it or not.

Let’s pause for a moment and consider the empty AMC Theatres and Toys R’ Us parking lots located near the transit center. Those sites are mired in negotiations for ambitious developments. Last year, one of the giant empty parking lots became home to the Federal Way Farmers Market every Saturday.

The Commons is a more visible and accommodating site for the market. However, the market and all these other events need a flat pedestrian-friendly promenade with easy public access. They are willing to settle for the striped asphalt in the mall’s outskirts.

I have not discussed the following idea with the mall’s management. Nothing they can do about it anyway. Therefore, this plea goes to Steadfast Companies, the mall’s owner, which is headquartered in California.

Please consider the potential for The Commons mall to become the top community destination in Federal Way.

The mall will amplify its power as a people magnet by remodeling the outskirts of the parking lot. A landscaped promenade, for example, would equip the parking lot with the means to host and stage events all year long.

Maybe the bricked walkways could lead more customers into the mall, but you’re more of an expert on that stuff.

This mall is the key cog in Federal Way’s economic engine. The mall ranks as a top choice for a community festival venue. The mall sits smack dab in the middle of Federal Way’s economic core.

There’s a song that says, “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

With help from Steadfast Companies and city leadership, The Commons can turn that mall parking lot into Federal Way’s own paved paradise, and everyone wins.

Pictured below: Scenes from the Northwest Sand Festival, Federal Way Farmers Market and Federal Way Lions Classic Car Show on Aug. 18 in The Commons mall parking lot.

 

 

More in Opinion

Mirror endorses candidates for 30th District

How you cast your vote will depend on which candidates’ values best match your principles.

Will council challenge Federal Way mayor on homeless issue?

Closing 27 homeless encampments in less than a year sends a bad message.

Smith vs. Smith: Battle between Democrats

Voters will benefit far more by retaining Democratic incumbent.

The power of community

It’s people like her who I get to meet every day that remind me why I am passionate about being a journalist.

Federal Way needs new direction on dealing with gun, safety issues

One city has shown the courage to stand up and start the discussion.

Federal Way’s marketing message is right in front of us

Rather than aim at the business, why not tailor our approach to their employees?

Federal Way Municipal Court
Racial disparities and jury service in Federal Way

We all have a choice, a choice that is especially important for persons of color today.

Kids are dying to learn about sexuality

School should not be a place where lives are threatened, whether by gun violence, or by ignorant and vitriolic bullying that contributes to suicide.

Political forecast for Federal Way’s elected leaders

It is late summer, and insiders and activists spend much time on political speculation waiting for November.

Federal Way has become an economic ugly duckling

Can this city fill its vacant office buildings and attract a few high-end anchor corporations to re-establish a solid middle-class core?

Mayor Ferrell: The whole story paints a different picture

The great Mark Twain once said: “A lie can travel halfway around… Continue reading

What could possibly go wrong at Federal Way City Hall?

After his big victory in last year’s mayoral election and with a… Continue reading