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Letter to the Editor: Islanders should be more involved with the library decision
I was fortunate to have been the lead consultant chosen by Islanders to guide the Vashon Town Plan adopted in the mid-1990s, a public planning effort funded by King County that emphasized land use and urban design. A citizen committee held numerous public meetings, design workshops, opinion-gathering events and a public survey, among other efforts, to gain an accurate perspective of what Islanders wanted for their town center. The acquisition and creation of our Village Green was one tangible result of the Town Plan.
One of the most important things we heard from people 15 years ago was that they wanted economic development and commercial land uses to be concentrated in town and not spread out as one long highway strip between Ober Park and Center (where Sound Food is located).
Unless public opinion or the longstanding economic tenet of concentrating commercial uses to form a healthy town core has changed, it makes no sense to me to discuss moving our wildly successful library to the K2 site.
My understanding is that the K-2 developers are dependent upon the library to move ahead in their process. It also seems to me that the King County Library System board and the Vashon Park District board have the opportunity to have more creative dialogue about how each can get their needs met in a way that serves the greatest public good. I know a few thousand Islanders would love to help craft the best possible solution, if given the chance.
The library should not move away from town. Especially if the Senior Center were to move to Ober Park, we all need to ensure that this important services hub works beautifully. My hope is that the K2 developers can find another anchor to make their project a viable one that does not dilute the necessary services for a viable town center.
At the very least, I’d like to see a coordinated citizen involvement program held before the public entities (our park and library boards) move ahead with or preclude any plans.
— Pam Bredouw