By Charlotte L.Glover
September 16, 2006
Four longtime agencies in our community- First City Players, the Arts Council, Ketchikan Theater Ballet and the Ketchikan Senior Center- are working together on a terrific plan to share a very special building called White Cliff School. Each agency provides jobs to our community, provides services, education and entertainment to thousands of local residents throughout the year, and each agency has proven leadership and solid fiscal management. The White Cliff Center project has my full support and I urge all of you to vote "yes" on October 3rd.
In my previous homes, I have seen many examples of fine historic building renovations. Two of my favorite projects are former schools in the Seattle area. The Queen Anne High School was built in 1909 and underwent adaptive re-use to become a 139 unit apartment building in 1986. It remains the crown jewel of Queen Anne Hill and is currently undergoing a conversion to condominium units.
Another great school conversion is the Wallingford Center, which was once the old Interlake Elementary School, built in 1904. Renovated in the mid 80's, the old school building anchors the neighborhood and is a model of mixed use architecture, housing apartments, restaurants and retail space while still retaining the appearance and charm of a beloved old school.
Unlike Schoenbar, the White Cliff building has been thoroughly reviewed by resident architectural partners with expertise in historic renovation who have a passionate interest in the success of the project. The White Cliff building has many more years of service with some careful improvements.
As with any municipal building project, there will be a variety of funding sources used to help pay for the White Cliff Center. The designated _ percent sales tax is just one piece of the pie, which will ultimately include support from individuals, businesses, as well as state and federal grants. For every $100 spent in town, 50 cents will go to the building fund. It's a small price to pay for a project that will impact thousands of people.
The West End of Ketchikan is clearly becoming the new downtown. Imagine the White Cliff Center anchoring the next era of Ketchikan retail and restaurant space. Join me in voting "yes" to save a valuable piece of Ketchikan history, to provide functional space for our community groups and to give us all a gathering place for generations to come.
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