By Nathan Brooks
June 04, 2010
There are many generations of my family living in Ketchikan. There are always issues in any community which cause conflicts and differing opinions. However, Ketchikan is reaching a level of constant conflict which is making it difficult for me and mine to want to live here any longer.
Tourism is an important economic factor here. No debate. It has taken over almost all of downtown and many community-at-large decisions are based on whether or not the result will be beneficial to that industry. We have had debate over control of cabs and local private businesses, but put no demands or regulation on services or stores who close most months of the year, leaving us to look like a poor ghost town. In the summer, locals can go shopping when the ships are in, but many businesses close the minute they leave. Our full time local stores are becoming fewer every year.and rent has become too expensive for locals to provide a service downtown-the landlords would prefer to keep a store vacant rather than lower the rent to allow for varied local experiences.
Which brings me to our current conflict: There have been years and years of discussion about the new Ketchikan library and where it should be placed. There has been input from parents, librarians, businesses, children and downtown citizens. The library employees have worked hard to acquire a grant to provide much needed funding for the project. A decision has been made, and once again, those who don't like the result are going to raise hell until they get what they want. (Many people would have liked to see the library near A&P-on the bus line, flat ground, parking available. They didn't get their way, but seem to understand that the Copper Creek area has been chosen). The down-town advocates are sure that they know best. But here's the thing -- keeping the library in downtown Ketchikan will not save the downtown and remake it the center of Ketchikan for the citizens. That was given away to the out-of-town crowd years ago.
In the summer when kids want to go to the library, there is little or no parking for their parents. Any place downtown will be filled with summer workers cars before you can say, "no more room". Again, a downtown library will not save downtown. It will not make locals shop more downtown, especially in the summer, because they can't.
The librarians have worked hard to get funding, committees have looked at the options available, citizens have had a chance to comment -- it is time to move forward with the decision before we run out of time and lose our funding. Yes, there is a deadline. We can't all get everything we want. Let's move on and come together -- this is not a right or wrong issue -- it is merely a difference of opinion.
A concerned citizen,
Received June 03, 2010 - Published June 04, 2010
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