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The Op-Ed, [“A convention-center redo for the people,” Opinion, April 11], asking the Washington State Convention Center Addition to fund $86 million in other community projects, raises fundamental issues.
We know Seattle faces pressing needs. It is no surprise that many groups hope to satisfy their wants with the public benefit dollars WSCC will invest in exchange for proposed alley and street vacations.
The city is expected to manage the WSCC vacation process consistent with past practice. The policies say the public benefit should balance what the public loses with what the public will gain, and that the public nature of a project must be considered in vacation decisions. Of WSCC’s three alley and two street vacations, the street vacations compose most of the square footage and both are below grade only — meaning the public still owns the streets, while gaining rebuilt utilities, new surfaces, sidewalks, and landscaping.
WSCC is a public facilities district, a nonprofit with a public purpose to boost economic vitality and jobs. We have seen past projects get buried by overwhelming public benefits; we hope this project isn’t buried, too.
It’s not time for a redo. It’s time to capture the opportunity to achieve WSCC’s public purpose.
— Frank Finneran, WSCC Public Facilities District, board chairman