Alki Statue of Liberty: Latest from the pro-plaza organizers

Sealady1.jpgJust in from Paul Carr, who with wife Libby Carr is heading up the group that is picking up the stalled proposal to build a plaza for the recast Alki Statue of Liberty. His unedited e-mail responding to recent comments, questions, and criticisms, as well as some questions of his own, and the latest on their committee’s efforts, all after the click:

My wife and I have read many of the comments directed to this effort; some have been supportive, some have been critical, and a few have been personally offensive. That’s not surprising. Whenever someone takes a position that asks people to put themselves out in front for a cause, there will be those take an opposing view, and there will be those who use the occasion as an excuse to vent their own petty fears and angers. We have seen both lately.

We thought of developing an itemized list, and answering questions one after another, but (1) that’s tedious for everyone, and (2) it won’t make a bit of difference to the close-minded.

But for the record: We are not “new-comers” to the area; Paul has lived with Libby at Alki almost five years. Libby, with the exception of the first five years of our marriage, has lived in Seattle since 1972. We have put a fair amount of time, and some money, into this effort. We have received no money or other gain for or from it. At some point, there may be a part-time paid administrator, but if there is, it will have to come from a separate, privately-funded, administrative grant for that purpose. We intend that all donations to the project through this committee go to direct costs to complete the project, exclusive of personal remuneration. We seriously doubt some of the people complaining about us have held themselves to this high a standard on other projects.

We have never promoted a “fancy-schmancy solution”; we are promoting the solution that a great majority of people, who took their time to respond as invited by the Parks Department, the Northwest Program for the Arts and the Alki Community Council, and who gave input and ideas over a two-year period working with the design team, approved. That collaboration resulted in this new plaza design. Unfortunately, we know those decisions won’t make any difference to some people. They probably didn’t like the plan then, and they don’t like it now—this is just another chance for them to whine about “their statue”, implying somehow that only they have a right to “own” it, whether it be the old statue or the new one. Silly us—we think it is everybody’s symbol.

But for the rest of you, and thank you all for your kind words and personal e-mails, we are still right on track with what we have intended. If we haven’t been “blogging” much, quite frankly, it is because we have to make a living while we organize this effort, and answering every criticism is pretty far down on our list. As an FYI, we are independent business people; Paul is in real estate and Libby collaborates with her clients about retirement strategies. During certain times of the year, they have another endeavor, which you can read about at

In the meantime, we are working on getting up and running. The website was nearly ready, then seriously delayed when our IT person turned out to have far less time for this project than had been anticipated. We have regrouped, and are now being told by those now in charge of the project that it will be up in a week. We are certainly hoping.

In the interim, please e-mail us at or if you wish the 2nd edition of our newsletter, which will be out in a few days. It will put you up to date on Seattle Statue of Liberty Committee—Phase II activities. Also, please feel free to e-mail us if you wish to be a part of that committee.

Everything else, however, has been good. We have donors and people interested in joining the committee still calling every day. Our affiliation with the new 501(c)(3) organization is close to completion, and we will then be accepting money for additional brick donations. Our organization is preparing plans for other fundraising activities.

Best of all, we are getting a lot of interest in our proposal at the Alki Community Council meeting in July to bring back the new statue to The Bathhouse. We have always understood that most people want “their statue” back where they can see it as soon as possible. This proposal, we feel, is a great temporary solution. We know there is an effort to put the new statue on the old pedestal, but we suspect some of the people promoting that option haven’t really thought that through. In the first place, it is NOT what the community said it wanted. Second, it is false economy. In fact, it isn’t economy at all—it’s wasteful. I’ve never heard any of the proponents for this solution volunteer to help raise money for this option; they just expect the City to pay for it (and those are our funds too). One person at City Parks Department has stated often to people, both in meetings and personally, that “the City can do something nice”, or words to that effect. But the only time she was asked directly (at the Alki Community Council meeting in July) if she could speak for the City, or actually make any commitments, she stated she couldn’t do that—she hasn’t the authority.

Then there is the bricks problem. What could the City possibly do with the previously sold bricks that doesn’t involve tearing up the present asphalt base and remodeling the area to accommodate those bricks? Can the old base even survive that work? The current asphalt is so buckled it will clearly need replacing. Won’t the City have to go back and get a new Shoreline Management Act Approval (or at least a Waiver) to do that? And all of that could take more time, not less time, than the design the community agreed upon—a design which already has Shoreline approval.

Next to last, where is Parks going to get the money? They are behind on projects now. Whose project, in what part of the City, would have to be robbed so we can have “our” statue back? And last, what about all the people who still want to buy a brick, or to buy another brick? The community plan has room for several thousand bricks; I seriously doubt the City is going to consent to being in the brick-selling business at all. So there goes another opportunity for people to participate in what should be a shining beacon of city statuary, and a symbol of liberty to us all.

It is silly to continue bickering when we can have it both ways. Bring our new statue to The Bathhouse so we can have her close, but build her a base and plaza worthy of her dignity and pride. It’s not “fancy-schmancy” and it’s not too much—it is the least we should do.

Thank you.

Paul & Libby Carr, Co-Chairs, Seattle Statue of Liberty Committee—Phase II

8 Replies to "Alki Statue of Liberty: Latest from the pro-plaza organizers"

  • Dis August 2, 2007 (3:11 pm)

    I’m sorry the discussion has fragmented and people are feeling both righteous and defensive. There are two camps and no one is willing to compromise. This is not how parks projects should occur. It’s reasonable to expect some answers to the status of past funds collected. I would like to hear from the city about what has been approved and what is still pending. It’s also reasonable to expect some oversight on a project that has increased in cost from 50,000 to 150,000+. Please don’t insert patriotism and loyalty and apple pie into a discussion that is straightforward, and that applies to both camps. Bring in a mediator if everyone insists in standing their ground. Perhaps that’s the role of the city.

  • Elizabeth August 2, 2007 (3:51 pm)

    I think putting the statue in the bath house so people can see it until the new plaza can be completed is a great compromise! It will build excitement about the statue in the interim AND will make fundraising go faster. Everyone will be happier in the long-term with the plaze and new pedestal.

  • matt August 2, 2007 (5:51 pm)

    The budget range we have been working with since the beginning of the design process in 2006 has been between $100000 and $125000, and the last estimate is 135K including a 15% contingency. The project is within 10% of our original numbers.

  • Dis August 2, 2007 (5:52 pm)

    The Bathhouse is a tiny building. Half the building is programmed for pottery and the other half for painting. Has anyone checked with the parks department before promoting an idea that might be impractical and/or impossible? It seems to be the theme of this project to take reservations for flight without checking whether the airplane can fly.

  • Bring Miss Liberty Home Now group August 2, 2007 (7:22 pm)

    Dis – I beg to differ that “There are two camps and no one is willing to compromise.”
    We’ve been calling for compromise for weeks now. Here’s a section of our flyer that was distributed and posted here on WSB:
    “The “Bring Miss Liberty Home NOW” group,, suggests a few compromises/alternatives to be considered:
    • Install her NOW on the existing base – spiffied up, with engraved bricks installed.
    • Construct in stages when funds become available: new base first and statue erected; engraved bricks installed next; benches and plantings to follow.
    • Instead of keeping her in Tacoma, put Miss Liberty on display in our Bathhouse where she can inspire fundraising. (Parks Dept. is checking on this possibility.)”
    Now one, and I do mean NO ONE, has chosen to address, or even recognize that.
    We hate this name-calling and will NOT participate, choosing to take the high-road.

  • Paul Carr August 4, 2007 (10:27 am)

    Who says we can’t get along? We just heard that the compromise the Statue of Liberty Committee–Phase II suggested at the ACC Meeting in July has been adopted by the Parks Department. The new Statue of Liberty is going into The Bathhouse shortly. We couldn’t be happier.
    We really have City Councilman Tom Rasmussen and his office, particularly Brian Hawksford, to thank for this. They negotiated with the Parks Department in an effort to bring the parties together, and we sincerely hope this goes a long way to satisfying everyone.

  • Bring Miss Liberty Home Now group August 4, 2007 (12:17 pm)

    Hurray! I am totally excited about that. When I suggested the bathhouse at the July 16th meeting at the statue base, it seemed then like an unlikely solution, due to liability, traffic through bathhouse, etc. I’m glad it turned out the way it has. I think we probably need to thank Pamela Kliment of Parks, also. She was going to check into it for us.

    What can we do with the ugly box that is now on the base. Any suggestions?

    Our group, Bring Miss Liberty Home Now, is still urging an oversight committee of some sort to ensure that any fundraising doesn’t go on and on and on and on. We still believe that raising $150,000 in 7 months, then 4 months construction, bringing us to the proposed dedication date of July 4, 2008 is not realistic. Because of our experiences with NPA, the community needs to be a more aware of what’s going on with fundraising, expected dedication date, all aspects of the new plaza effort, etc. I’m sure the ‘new plaza committee’ can see why this is a concern. This is not a criticism of the plaza committee, more a “learn from past mistakes” kind of thing.

    Any date as to when ‘she’s’ coming home to the beach? I’d love to be a part of that.

    We’re still urging everyone to attend the Parks called meeting on Sept. 13, 7pm at the Bathhouse. There still are aspects of the proposed new plaza that need to be voiced.

    Jo Ofsthus

  • Bring Miss Liberty Home Now group August 4, 2007 (2:13 pm)

    Matt: You said early on that a breakdown on costs for the new plaza would be forthcoming.
    Is there any chance of getting costs for the following:
    1. New base, statue installed. (with and without lighting feature)
    2. Then bricks installed around new base.
    3. Then benches, planting area.


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