Letters to the Editor

Revolutionary response to the Czar of Federal Way | Letters

The Federal Way Community Center is located at 876 S. 333rd St. - Courtesy of the City of Federal Way
The Federal Way Community Center is located at 876 S. 333rd St.
— image credit: Courtesy of the City of Federal Way

Like all totalitarian regimes, Mr. Matthew Jarvis, the self-styled "Czar of Federal Way" ("If I were czar, pt.2," Feb. 1), has lost touch with the needs of general population.

He proposes closing the Federal Way Community Center because it is not making money for the city. I am not a businessman, but I can’t think of too many ventures that have made money between 2007 (when the Community Center opened) and today, and I know that the last thing Federal Way needs is another empty building.

No, what Federal Way needs is an empty imperial palace and a thriving Community Center.

Mr. Jarvis’ proposal of "fixing" the Community Center by bringing in an outside management team is ludicrous. The Federal Way Community Center serves a completely different purpose than LA Fitness or Wild Waves.

The czar makes a gross assumption when he states that only pass-holders benefit from the Community Center. Besides the almost 6,000 people served by over 3,000 memberships (family memberships serve a group of people) and those that use the center on a drop-in basis, Federal Way Community Center provides programs and opportunities that benefit the Federal Way School District and a multitude of senior citizens in our community who use the Community Center every day for everything from fitness classes to Meals on Wheels.

During storms or natural disasters, the Community Center is equipped to serve as a place of refuge for the people in Federal Way, as many residents found out during the ice storm last winter.

A wide variety of free community events are held in the many meeting rooms that the Community Center offers. Even the most cursory glance through the Parks and Recreation Quarterly Catalog shows that the Community Center offers programs that could benefit nearly everyone in our city. The YMCA, the czar’s other solution and the closest model to what we already have in the Community Center, is also a non-profit that runs programs through government subsidies, so it would not be a profitable option either.

Our Community Center is so much more than just a workout facility or an amusement park; it meets a very real need in our city — the need to develop and sustain a community.

I agree that the City of Federal Way should strive for fiscal responsibility, and I’m willing to give the people in leadership the benefit of the doubt and trust that they are doing just that. What the czar has failed to recognize is that our city is more than a business; it is a community — or it could be.

And that is my revolutionary idea. Let’s stop seeing Federal Way as a suburb, stuck in the shadow of Seattle or Tacoma. Let’s give our public servants some credit and allow them to implement programs that are truly good for our city, even if those programs cost some money.

Let’s invest our resources in our city and make it something to be proud of. In order to develop our own identity as a community, we must make the commitment to invest in our future, we must actually have a vision for Federal Way to be something more than a freeway exit between Seattle and Tacoma.

Many worthwhile investments take a while to mature, such as children, personal health, or education. I propose that we look at our community, and our Community Center, not solely as a business, but as an investment in the future of Federal Way.

LA Fitness and Wild Waves will come and go; they don’t care about our city. The YMCA was here, and it failed due to poor management — the building was sold to the school district years ago. But the Community Center is something that is growing and evolving, working to meet the needs of the city.

I urge you to reject the ideas of the "Czar of Federal Way" and walk through the doors of our Community Center — you’re likely to find something good there.

Jennifer Rygel, Federal Way


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