SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


The Better Choice: Weighing in on the Library
By Katie Parrot


August 19, 2010
Thursday AM

I agree wholeheartedly with John Scoblic. I also agree with Susan Peters when she writes: "As a successful private developer would say, 'The three most important ingredients of any project are: location, location, location.'" A bank that is poorly located will not prosper, nor a food store or an apparel shop. Neither will a public library. Acquiring anything less than the best site will prove a false economy in terms of the life-cycle costs of the library. Anything less than the best site will also hinder public use of this important community resource, except that we differ significantly in our ideas about what site fulfills this ideal." (Susan, I recommend reading Eric Muench's insightful and well-written letter posted on Sitnews.)

As a resident of Harris Street, which is just around the corner from our current library, and an avid book lover, you'd think that my family and I would frequent our city library. We do not. In spite of the close location, the winter weather makes walking with young children difficult, and when we drive to the library parking is often unavailable. In the summer when walking is doable, I'm hesitant to brave the throngs of tourists. I would not call the current site an excellent choice.

Additionally, I drive Grant Street every day, and every day I drive it I think about what a disaster it would be to have a library at the top of that hill. I have lived in the downtown area for a numbers of years and can testify to what a nightmare parking can be on or near Grant Street. Anyone who has ever had jury duty knows exactly what I'm talking about. It baffles me that anyone could consider this an excellent choice. Currently, I don't understand the use of the term "excellent choice" for any of the proposed sites downtown.

So, to A Better Choice committee I would like to pose a question: A better choice for whom? Certainly not for my or Mr. Scoblic's families, and I suspect for many other families in Ketchikan like ours. What is the value of having a library that is such a pain in the behind to get to that many citizens do not and will not use it?! And apparently not according to the trained professionals of the Foraker group, and not according to those individuals who have dedicated so much of their time and energy to this issue over the past year or two. We shouldn't negate or ignore the work that has already been done by the Foraker group and the Library Feasibility Committee thus far! Essentially, it is the function of their work to provide a feasible and economically responsible plan for this community development, which we should trust they have done. (The services provided through the predevelopment program ha[ve] been shown to reduce project costs by as much as 20%, as well as improve performance on cost, schedule, and scope control. ) Visit the website to see the depth and breadth of this work for yourselves:

Finally, you are quick to wave the save the taxpayers money banner, but from what I ve heard (research done by objective people trying to make a good decision on the issue) the long-term operational costs of a multi-level downtown building will far exceed the cost of a single-story facility on the Copper Ridge site. (And, as a personal favor, could you please stop fear-mongering by playing up the rock pit issue. It isn t as if the new library will be in place by next month! Essentially, at one time or another, every developed area upland on this island has been a sort of rock pit, right? That's what happens when you develop land on an island made of rock.)

The fact is there are people who will not use the library in a downtown location, and the Copper Ridge site could open up accessibility and usership to the wider Ketchikan community. What better choice than to have a public library in an up-and-coming area that essentially links major schools and community centers, and is just over the hill from our downtown! Let's think about the bigger picture for the well-being of Ketchikan and I'm not talking about just those within Ketchikan city limits or those within the few cramped blocks of downtown; I'm talking about the Community of Ketchikan, from Herring Cove to Settler's Cove.

This coming Tuesday I'm voting YES on PROP 1 and NO on PROP 2 because it is the better choice.

Katie Parrott
Ketchikan, AK

About: "A citizen of Ketchikan, thankful for the opportunity and venue through which to weigh in on issues that affect our community"

Received August 18, 2010 - Published August 19, 2010


Related Viewpoints:

letterLibrary Location By John Scoblic

letterLicense to Spend By Diane Naab, Susan Peters, John Hill, Lani Hill, Terral Wanzer, Mary Wanzer, Steven Reeve, Len Lawrence, Patrick Jirschele, Terri Jirschele and Samuel Bergeron

letterLibrary Location Can't Recreate The Past By Eric Muench

letter Proper Planning for our Library By Susan Peters -

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