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Attract businesses, then build the toys | Federal Way letters
I attended the council meeting Nov. 16. Sorry, but you have not convinced me that going forth with this performing arts center project now is wise for Federal Way.
My argument stands: With our $9 million deficit, and the fact that we've just laid off 15 "valuable and talented employees" (your words) with more layoffs on the horizon — including 20 police officers, I don't think so. Due to budget shortfalls, you're concerned with keeping up with the necessary updates to the Dumas Bay facilities (so much so that we've just paid a marketing team $70,000 to help Federal Way market the facility. You've just gone through a grueling budgeting process, using creative accounting to keep things running. That creative accounting included the limiting of programing on Federal Way's Channel 21. Nope, I'd rather keep the police officers than build a performing arts center at this time.
You cannot convince me that in this economy, and given our present debt, that building a performing arts and convention/civic/cultural center on property purchased using an IRS dodge is our ticket to drawing business to our downtown core. Nope, not now!
Why don't you think about using Mark Walsh's suggestions for building a city? (Sans the high rises-we don't need 35 and 45 story buildings housing 700 condos; that defeats the purpose.) Stop building condos and apartments like you promised us you would if we voted to become a city. Use all the charged energy you've been using for performing arts and direct that energy to reasonable multi-story office buildings and "sell" Federal Way to large businesses who need office space close to the airport. Heaven knows, we have enough vacant hotel rooms for their out-of-state visitors. As it is now, we have a gazillion Asian restaurants (every vacant building becomes one) and no real business. (I know because I have a fondness for Asian food and I leave Federal Way to shop.)
Councilpersons, you need to build a "city." You're putting the cart before the horse. You don't build all the playtoys on the backs of the citizens, then try to attract business. You attract business and then, with tax revenue from a viable city, you build the toys.
Incidentally, why is it that some of the council members and all of the arts crowd were aware of the pending buy of the Toys "R" Us building for the performing arts center, and none of the public knew about it? Can you explain that?
My opinion? You and the "arts crowd" are being incredibly selfish right now.
Sheryl Nevers, Federal Way