Off the Press

January 11, 2011

By David Hayes

David Hayes Press Reporter

Bigger could be better for Issaquah

Last week on this editorial page, we ran our suggested goals for Issaquah in 2011, things that, with a little effort, could be easily accomplished.

In my 11 years working at The Issaquah Press, I’ve seen nearly all there’s to see and do in this great, little town. But I couldn’t help but notice, in that time, some things that are missing.

Here, then, is my wish list of things that could also make the city better, albeit if money and logistics were not a factor.

Entertainment

Who’s tired of that eyesore that is the former Albertsons grocery store? That is prime real estate to develop into something that could attract many to Issaquah, contributing to the local economy. When I was writing up my list, that one building, after a little renovating and refurbishing, could house three of my wishes under one roof — a bowling alley, pool hall and poker room.

As much appreciated as the community center is, this town just needs another family venue. Today’s younger generation needs to put down the Wii and roll a real, 13-pound bowling ball down the wooden, oiled lane and witness in person the exploding impact of a well-thrown strike.

And nothing beats feeling the jolt of a good break in billiards that results in several balls sinking in one shot, corner pocket.

Providing poker tables in a side room for adults only, I admit, is a little selfish. But why do I have to drive to Kirkland or Renton card rooms to satisfy my poker jones?

Another activity that should be enjoyed in person, and not electronically, is a driving range. Use the same Albertsons building for an indoor facility or put one at the base of Tiger Mountain somewhere, and fair weather duffers can whack away year round and not lose their swing over the winter months.

Library space

I was excited when the new library was built in 2001. It was going to be a modern facility with tons more space from which to offer community programs revolving around books. How disappointed was to see that the grand structure built was not two stories, but rather a one-story facility with a really tall ceiling? Talk about silly, wasted space. To rectify this oversight, I’d like to see a second-floor mezzanine built to accommodate all the young minds that regularly attend the many, standing-room only programs.

Bigger museum

Speaking of space, I’d love to see our main museum get more of it. Sure, many of the items the Issaquah History Museums have are on display in a quaint, turn-of-the-century repurposed building. But, so much more is stored off site that much of the public never gets to see. A larger building doesn’t have to be gaudy — hello, Experience Music Project — but it can be eye-catching and thus attract more of the curious minded.

State park expansion

Grand plans have been in the works for new public facilities at Lake Sammamish State Park. As is, it’s a lot of open space with, really, not a lot to do. My best-case scenario would be miraculously discovered funding within the state budget to construct all the attractions discussed, from an RV campground and artificial turf soccer field to watercraft rental and a water park. Why should Wild Waves in Federal Way get to hog all that fun?

Parking

Who hasn’t arrived downtown for an evening out only to drive around for half the outing looking for parking? To get around another parking lot eye sore, why not go with underground parking facilities? San Francisco is retrofitting many of its buildings, from homes to businesses, by not going vertical, but rather subterranean.

These are just a few unrealistic suggestions, meant more for discussion over the water cooler that in most likelihood will never come to fruition. But, with unlimited resources or space issues, I’m sure creative minds couldn’t do worse than my list.

David Hayes: 392-6434, ext. 237, dhayes@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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