Since our update yesterday featuring the new flyer from the group that thinks it will take too long to embark on a new round of fundraising for what they call the “fancy-schmancy” plaza … here’s what else has happened:
First — That group has set up an e-mail address — firstname.lastname@example.org — as mentioned in the comments below yesterday’s update. No website yet, but then again, we haven’t seen the pro-plaza group’s promised site at sealady.org go live yet either.
Second — Matt Hutchins, one of the architects that has donated his time to the plaza project and appeared at the recent meetings about it, e-mailed us some answers/clarifications to points that have been brought up by plaza opponents/doubters. Click ahead to read the complete text of what he wants to say (he also promises to answer questions here as well).
From plaza project architect Matt Hutchins:
1. Parks has not officially committed to “spiffing up” the pedestal, laying any contributor bricks, etc. – just putting the statue back. In the current budget climate, they have balked at any additional maintenance cost (planting, light bulbs etc.), so I’d like to see a proposal as to what they will do to “spiff up” the area before I’d assume there would be any beautification of the statue’s pedestal or surroundings. With private money, at least we as a community retain control – as opposed to getting whatever the city gives us.
2. Non-profit status is in the works and should be ready soon.
3. The parks department has given the current plan preliminary approval, and there are some issues we need to resolve, however they do not issue final approval until the construction documents and fundraising are complete. Construction documents are about 85% done.
4. Vandalism of the Statue was one of the original reasons for redesigning the pedestal. Putting the Statue back as is does nothing to minimize the future threat of that.
5. A lot of this debate has been in terms of “Liberty now or Liberty later.” The city has scheduled a meeting in a month and a half to listen to comments, and if the consensus if to replace the statue then, we would be looking at her return at the earliest in October. On the other hand, we have been working toward unveiling the finished project around July 4th 2008, provided we don’t have to totally redesign the current plans. The difference is seven or eight months. For an idea that has been floating around for fifteen years, and for a public space that will last for another hundred years, an additional seven months wait seems like a small price to pay.
6. Yes, this project is ambitious, but the Statue deserves a better setting, protection from vandalism, and this project will provide a great public space worthy of the local landmark. The committee is working hard to get the best possible outcome; one that we can all be proud of.
If anyone has questions, I’ll be happy to try and answer them here.
WS resident and Seattle Statue of Liberty Committee member