Northwest NEWS

November 25, 2002


It takes vision to preserve things of the past

In the twenty three years I have lived in rural western Washington, I have seen many changes as small towns have given way to the pressures of population and development. Many quaint small towns now look like big cities as pastoral farms become Target stores and old storefronts become strip malls. As the owners of two small businesses in Old Town Duvall, my husband and I have great concerns about the nature of such development in this community.
   Perhaps it is true that the majority of people now living in Duvall have no agrarian or any other kind of roots in Duvall, but I believe that many have an appreciation for the "ratty and decrepit" old barn on Hwy. 203 (as described by one reader in the Nov. 11th issue.) This barn symbolizes the agrarian roots of the community of Duvall, not of those who have just purchased new homes in Duvall and know and care nothing of its long and colorful history.
   As I understand it, the City of Duvall is being asked for $200,000 only to stabilize and move the barn to a permanent site. After that, funding will come from the Duvall Arts Foundation, grant money, some already acquired, as well as donations and fundraising from various groups and individuals.
   Perhaps it will take time until the project is complete, but this gem will be preserved and Duvall will have established a center for the arts to house workshops, classes and concerts. Such a center would draw many people to the town as participants and patrons.
   I can tell you that I meet people every day in our businesses "outsiders from Seattle" and elsewhere who love Duvall for its flavor and character. Our businesses are supported in no small part by visitors seeking the Duvall of old. Many newcomers have moved here because they have fallen in love with the town. There is huge concern about the pace and nature of changes in Duvall. It is the quaintness of Duvall's old town, and its small-town rural feel that endears people.
   I guess the question is: What do we want Duvall to be 20 or 50 years from now? Issaquah North? Monroe South? Sure, we could build replicas of what is being lost here, it really isn't the same thing.
   One thing I can assure you: The money will always be there for new sewers and new neighborhoods and new strip malls. It takes a little vision and care to preserve those things of value from times gone by. They cannot be replaced.
   Paula Inmon, Duvall