White Cliff Community Center
By Jean Bartos
August 14, 2006
Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines symbiosis
as "in biology, the living together of two dissimilar organisms
in association or union, especially where this is advantageous
to both" . The proposed use of the White Cliff School building
for a community center housing Ketchikan Senior Center Services,
Ketchikan Theater Ballet, First City Players and the Ketchikan
Area Arts and Humanities Council is a truly symbiotic relationship
that will touch every facet of our population.
I've been involved as a member of the Steering Committee on this
and the two previous ideas for centers for the past eight years.
I have been extremely pleased by the way the members of the
organizations involved have worked together. There has been
a positive mood of cooperation, a seeking to meet the needs of
each organization and the community as much as possible. In
this world where backbiting often seems the norm, this has been
refreshing and encouraging.
The proposed facility would provide a home to the four organizations
named above. It would have adequate parking, dance studios,
classrooms, theater, gallery space, and offices and a senior
center containing dining, recreation, and visiting areas, and
give this great old building a new life. There will be opportunities
for residents of all ages to interact. A group of dedicated volunteers
have balanced a lot of enthusiasm and a desire to make Ketchikan
a better place with diligence and attention to detail in developing
this project. We are excited about what we ve developed.
Where do we go from here? This community gets to decide. If
we do nothing with the building, we could well end up spending
money on it anyway - demolition would cost about $3,900,000.
There are granting foundations out there. However, they rarely
fund projects until the local community contributes a significant
portion of the total cost. The City has already committed $500,000.
Naturally, the Borough is involved in this project because it
owns the building, and because the project serves the entire
Why are we proposing a small sales tax increase? Because it's
a way to broadly distribute the cost so that this project can
happen. Dedicated taxes have contributed to many great public
projects, including the Rec Center and the Hospital, and this
is a way for us to decide what kind of community we want to live
I urge you all to become informed about it - copies of the Conceptual
Plan are available at the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities
Council Office at 716 Totem Way, and on the web: www.ketchikanarts.org/whitecliff.
And, personally, I hope you will all vote for both ballot propositions.
Ketchikan, AK - USA
About: Have lived in Ketchikan 31 years. Retired and plan to
say here. Active on Arts Council Board of Directors and White
Cliff Community Center Steering Committee.
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