Northwest NEWS

November 18, 2002

Local News

Editorial Opinion - Council should save historic barn for community center

Those on the east coast of the U.S. have historically cherished, preserved and maintained their older buildings.
   In contrast, people who live on the west coast, in particular the Northwest, can't seem to tear things down fast enough.
   And that is a shame. Many historic structures, created with old growth timber and embellished on the insides with beautifully crafted hardwoods, seem destined for the scrapheap the moment the opportunity comes along to replace them with something else, such as the corrugated tin structures that appear to be the rage these days in new commercial developments.
   Unfortunately, many towns seem to be following this short-sighted approach as their populations grow and city budgets turn upside-down.
   The city of Duvall has the opportunity to save an old dairy barn that the Duvall Foundation for the Arts would like to convert into a community center. However, all but two on the council are skeptical, claiming the money ($200,000) that would need to be earmarked for the project in next year's budget, would be better put to use for roads or the sewage treatment plant expansion.
   We at the Valley View believe that $200,000 is a drop in the proverbial bucket of the approximately $13 million needed for the sewer plant expansion. And, the city plans on spending $150,000 to build a new skateboard park.
   Some of the skeptics mentioned also they were concerned the city could get stuck for more money for operating costs down the road.
   But arts commission members say those costs have been taken under consideration and are being planned for.
   Plus, a dollar value cannot be placed on what the community would gain from this project. The barn is a link to the city's past and could become a centerpiece for the town and an attraction that could boost the city's coffers considerably in the future.
   Once it's gone, it's gone. There's no bringing it back or replacing it.
   But perhaps the council, when it wants to show visitors what the town has to offer, could show them the new sewage treatment plant. With landscaping, it probably won't look too bad.
   Those who wish to show their support for the Thayer barn project need to contact Duvall council members before the 2003 budget is adopted on Dec. 12.
   The last public hearing on the 2003 budget is scheduled for Nov. 26, two days before Thanksgiving, at 7 p.m., in the Rose Room of the Duvall Library.