December 2, 2002
by Karen Waddington
DUVALL - At the City of Duvall Council meeting held Tuesday, Nov. 26, public hearings were held on the Thayer barn project and the proposed skate park.
A number of people spoke, all in support of the Thayer barn. Comments included: "I hope this is able to happen, because it will benefit children and families and fill a need this area doesn't have."
One woman took a sign-up sheet around her neighborhood and of the 12 people she talked with 10 were in favor of this project.
One person who spoke brought a copy of the December 2002 issue of Money magazine which included an article that stated that the Snoqualmie Valley is one of the best places to live in the state of Washington. This person reiterated support for the barn, saying that it is "what this community is all about."
Another citizen pointed out that the barn is a historical treasure. Someone polled 40 people in their neighborhood and 38 were in support of the project.
One citizen spoke to the issue of money concerning the council members and reminded them that after doing the math the $200,000 divided by 5,000 people is $40. That figure divided by 12 months, works out to about a latte a month, and he felt that people here would be willing to pay that.
A representative from the Duvall Civic Club read a letter expressing the unanimous support of the Civic Club and asked that the council follow through on its responsibility, saying, "The Thayer barn is vital, necessary and desperately needed. We will never have another opportunity like this."
Another citizen who had moved to this area only in April stated, "If you take away the barn, you take away character."
One citizen said that what made them buy property here was that it's charming, quaint and has character, and said to the council, "Let's make this some place worth going to instead of some place to drive through going somewhere else."
Another person, an art teacher with 70 students, spoke in support of the barn because she has to take her classes outside of Duvall because of lack of space.
Lynn McBride offered a proposal summary from the Duvall Arts Foundation asking the city to keep the $200,000 request in the budget. She also stated that they are not asking for any of those dollars until the foundation raises its required $100,000.
Almost 500 signatures were gathered on a petition and presented to the council showing that almost all the signatures were in support of the Thayer barn.
Someone else spoke to the issue of dollars: "If the council's bottom line is dollars, my family travels to Seattle, Issaquah and other places for the arts, people will come here to spend their money."
Paula McDonald owner of P & G Speakeasy Cafˇ in Duvall collected 25 signatures from businesses in Duvall. 80 percent of them signed in support of the barn. "The people want this, the business want this," Said McDonald.
Another citizen reminded the council that if this project doesn't happen, it will be 10, 15 or maybe 20 years before there is enough money to build an arts center in Duvall.
A local author spoke in favor of the Thayer barn saying that her children who are involved in the arts have to go elsewhere to participate in programs. Her young son also spoke saying that his school goes on field trips to Seattle and wouldn't it be nice if Seattle schools came here on field trips?
One citizen told the council that they appreciated the fact that the council is trying to be fiscally responsible, but also encouraged them to be visionary, and others said that they felt that this project is being fiscally responsible.
Another citizen reminded the council that out of everyone who had spoken at the meeting so far, not one person had spoken to the negative, saying, "If you want support, here it is."
One citizen, a retired photo journalist, described a whole generation of lost barns saying, "Now we are losing the next generation, this one jewel we can save as a landmark."
There were 17 letters both for and against submitted to the council as a matter of public record.
A discussion on the 2003 budget adoption was next. The Public Works Director recommended supporting the barn. The planning director added her and her staff's support as well.
One councilmember stated that when he was running for city council, he talked to citizens asking them what the issues facing the city were and not one person ever said that the barn needed saving. It was of concern to him that the citizens only showed support when the $200,000 was listed in the budget.
Several council members expressed concerns that the $200,000 would not be the end and that the city would have to come up with additional funds.
Several council members praised the people who showed up in support of the Thayer barn saying that they were "blown away" by the show of support and that no one remembered 500 signatures being gathered for anything before this.
One councilmember said, "You have to believe in a vision for the city and you have to make decisions that have a different kind of cost benefit."
Another councilmember strongly opposes the barn project because of the deficit facing the city.
Council members discussed the fact that they are afraid there will need to be more than the $200,000 and asked for a legal document to be written prior to the next meeting that states that the city's responsibility would be no more than $200,000.
The Mayor reminded the council to listen to their constituents, "They are telling you what they want."
An agreement will be drafted and presented to the council prior to the next meeting for review. A vote on the adoption of the 2003 budget will be continued until the next meeting.