SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Yes on #2
By Mike Harpold


August 21, 2010
Saturday AM

Every time I look out my front window at the Old Main School site, I appreciate the vision of the early leaders of our community who built the community's landmark school there. The site's present use as a parking lot is a pretty humble comedown. It would be a shame for our generation to pass up this opportunity to use the site for our library. I was disappointed that the arts and humanities people didn't choose it for a performing arts center. Someday, an outfit like Marriott is going to purchase the site and put up a multi-million dollar hotel.

I appreciate that the library committee stepped in to move this project. City government appears to have been at best indifferent to building a new library. But, had the Foraker Group been asked to evaluate the Main School site and the existing Centennial Building location as a library site, and had the library itself simply surveyed its clients as to their wishes for a library location, I have the feeling that the community would have been spared one of the most divisive fights I have witnessed in recent years.

Removing more property from the city tax rolls when at least two city-owned sites are already available in the core downtown area is not a good solution. Libraries belong in downtowns, where the majority of people congregate whether they are visitors or residents. In case anyone hasn't noticed, tourism butters our bread these days, and sales tax dollars help pay for many of our services including the library. Keeping our downtown an attractive place is as much in our economic interest as it is in maintaining our sense of community.

Put out of the way on Copper Ridge, it will not be long before the library seeks space for a satellite branch in the mall or back in downtown.

It will take voters from both sides of the issue to pass the $5 million library bond issue this fall, but it could well be the passionate support of those who are fighting to retain a vital downtown that is decisive. For that reason, I support keeping the library downtown and will vote Yes on 2.

Mike Harpold
Ketchikan, AK

About: " Former City Council Member"

Received August 20, 2010 - Published August 21, 2010



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