What Would it Take for You to Vote Yes on a New City Hall?
Now that it appears as if Mountlake Terrace Proposition 1 will pass, the community will soon turn it's eyes towards our next big challenge: planning a permanent City Hall on city-owned property. There have been three failed Civic Center bond measures in the past in 2010, 2012, and 2013. Proposition 1 give us funding for four years of Interim City Hall rent payments. In that four years the community needs to come up with a new plan for a City Hall, pass a financing bond measure, and have the City Hall designed and built.
Four years may seem like a long time. But when you consider it will take about a year to construct, a year to design, and time for the public planning process and to get something on the ballot, we need to get started soon.
As many of you know I've been a strong supporter of the past couple Civic Center bond measures. I did and still do think it was a good idea to make this about the Civic Center and not just a City Hall. Expanding our police station, having flexible community space, and other amenities for residents at the Civic Center would be great for the City. The past two Civic Center votes show that a majority of MLT voters agree. But what myself and other supporters need to realize is that with some of these extras we are not going to get the 60% of the vote to pass.
The focus of this next (and hopefully final) plan needs to be approval from the vast majority of the community. Unfortunately, 25%+ of voters will probably vote "no" on any proposal. Past votes have shown that 50-55% of voters will probably vote "yes" on any reasonable civic center proposal. That leaves 20-25% of voters that absolutely need to be represented in the planning process. If you have voted "no" in the past, understand that a permanent City Hall is needed, and would support a modest proposal, please get involved. We need you to get this done.
Past Civic Center measure have been divisive with both sides expending a lot of energy trying to persuade others to vote for or against. What we need now is to stop using that energy to debate the minutiae of decisions made in the past. We need to focus that energy on coming up with a solution to get our City Hall built and bring it back downtown.
Already there is some good discussion happening. I posed the following question below on the nextMLT Facebook page so feel free to join in the conversation.