Letters to the Editor

Bag the community center project

It doesn’t surprise me that Federal Way’s proposed new community center is costing more (Oct. 20, “Community center plan out of whack by $5.6 million”). When I attended an open house last year, I expressed my concerns for the need of such. Not only that, but all the bells and whistles, such as rock climbing, wave pools and on and on, let alone the architecture. I came away feeling like “Here we go again,” another thing that someone else feels that we need as a community and we can help pay for it even if we don’t use it.

If you are an old-timer here, some may remember one of those dream ideas back between about 1975 to 1980, with the “Festival in the Forest.” I was looking at the files at the Historical Society of Federal Way the other day about it. Again, I questioned the need for it when our school district was in financial crisis for those years, our children’s music programs were being cut and there were those who were promoting this project for “Wagner’s Ring” and the Seattle Opera. As a young neophyte mom going in to get my children some literature at the South 320th Street library, I would pass this model of the “Festival in the Forest” and wondered whose pie-in-the-sky idea was it for our small community. A lot of wasted energy went into it.

I told someone at this meeting that I’d raised five children and our community center was our church, school and the public library. They had Scouts, Camp Fire and music lessons. When older, they had after-school jobs, so we didn’t have a need for such.

From what I have observed over the years, the Dumas Bay Center has not been used as heavily as projected, so why not promote that more and max out the use?

Although I guess I’m a senior citizen now, being as busy as I am with what I’m involved in, I haven’t had time to use the two senior centers we already have.

While visiting our daughter in Gilbert, Ariz. last winter, I had a chance to look at their new community center –– a huge, monolithic edifice –– near her home.Although they had several different areas in it, I could see that there was a lot of wasted space within the high vaulted ceilings in the main lobby. She mentioned it was not being used as the city had hoped it would be, which made me think that one here would be the same.

I recall City Councilman Jim Ferrell making the point last year about competing with private recreational businesses. There were questions then, and now I think we need to rethink, consider what we have invested in time and money already, consider it sunk cost and bag it. Spend the time on the day-to-day problems of running a city.

Lynda Jenkins

Federal Way

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