Federal Way reaches turning point like Seattle in '62 | Letters
March 12, 2013 · 12:13 PM
When you drive north up I-5 to Seattle, your first view of the city reveals a number of tall buildings, which reflects a substantial downtown business community.
In its forefront there is a much smaller grayish colored building called the Smith Tower, which prior to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, was the tallest building in the city. Up until then, Seattle, relative to other large U.S. cities, was a minor league town.
The '62 World’s Fair, however, marked a turning point for the city, and today with its iconic Space Needle as its symbol, it is recognized worldwide as a major city
The Seattle World’s Fair did not just come about. There was great public concern and angst about the cost, and the fact that by themselves, world’s fairs did not make money. If it had not been for the strength of its community’s leadership to move forward, the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair might never have happened.
Federal Way is at a turning point. The easy way out for our Federal Way council members in making their decision on moving forward with the Federal Way performing arts/civic center is to just say no, or build a public park instead. They can follow the safer naysayers' approach and take little political risk in doing so. Or they can act with vision and leadership, as was done 50-plus years ago by Seattle’s leaders.
It is quite evident through all the studies and proposals as to what could be built in our city’s downtown core that our city must move forward first. It does not make sense for any business to commit hundreds of millions of dollars to Federal Way’s downtown without evidence of the city’s own community commitment to its success.
The plan to develop a performing arts/civic center has languished in its completion for more than 20 years. Our downtown city business core development shows decay and has languished as well.
Let’s move forward and get this project done.
Bob Kellogg, Federal Way