By Kevin Gadsey
August 23, 2010
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
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
Received August 21, 2010 -
Published August 23, 2010
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