SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


By Kevin Gadsey


August 23, 2010

Dear editor,

As a newer resident of Ketchikan (3.5 years), I've been watching the library saga unfold while sensing the anger, sadness, and passion in citizens' voices. Simply put, our community is completely unified in the need for a new library, but completely divided on the location. We are divided as vehicle users versus bus riders/walkers AND we are divided as North versus South residents. I've seen this evident while setting up support groups around town. People near A&P refused to come downtown, and people downtown refused to go past the Plaza. In some cases, we set up two support groups, and sometimes, we just had to choose the best location where the most people would attend.

As a bus rider and walker who lives and works downtown, venturing only past the Plaza when I must for work or medical care, I will be voting to keep the new library downtown. Part of the reason I've stayed in Ketchikan is that, for the most part, everything I need is within a mile of each other. Putting a library straight up the mountain at the end of the bus route really doesn't work for me personally. I see the library as a place to stop by on the way too or from something else. Copper Ridge doesn't fit that definition for many of us who live or work downtown.

However, I fully understand and respect most of the opinions' of the people who want the library outside of downtown. If I were a parent with 4.6 kids, I'd probably want to drive directly inside the library, hit the eject button, make a u-turn, and come back in an hour without having to worry about tourists standing in the middle of the road. I do take umbrage with people who have said they want the library out of the downtown area so they and their kids won't have to see or interact with Ketchikan's downtown homeless population. Ketchikan's homeless have as much right, and maybe more of a need for the library's services than any of us. Parents could use the time as a teaching moment, to encourage the child to help others less fortunate.

No matter how the vote turns out on August 24, I hope and believe that Ketchikan can come together to build the best library possible, and then work together to create a second or satellite library that can meet the needs of others in Ketchikan. Do you believe that also?


Kevin Gadsey
Downtown Resident
Ketchikan, AK


Received August 21, 2010 - Published August 23, 2010



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