LETTER: ‘City Has an Opportunity to Build a Beautiful Artplace at Town Square’

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These pictures show the beginning of a Burien Town Square Arts and Cultural District as described below:

The interplay of the sun, art, space, darkness and street lighting was beautiful tonight at Burien Town Square. This section of Burien is crying out to be officially designated the Arts and Cultural District.

The city has an opportunity to build a beautiful “Artplace” at Town Square. The size of the area is a little small but it is perfect for place making. Other cities across the nation are building Art Places for their citizens by competing for grants and promoting stimulating art projects to enhance their cities desirability for future growth. These attractions will draw commercial and community resources for the people to visit and enjoy.

If this opportunity is missed the dream of a vibrant town square as described or as planned in the Burien 2020 Vision will be ended. The city council needs to be forward thinking and have a long-term vision for a vibrant Burien like it used to.

– Robbie Howell

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12 Responses to “LETTER: ‘City Has an Opportunity to Build a Beautiful Artplace at Town Square’”
  1. Karl says:

    Art is great, but we need businesses!

  2. Shere'e R. says:

    Art is wonderful but is it really what we need to be spending tax money on? I think Burien could use another cop before they could use another statue

    • Shari says:

      I think Robbie was referring to getting more aggressive and intentional about seeking grant money from foundations like ArtPlace rather than using tax revenue.

  3. LeilaniB says:

    I wish there were some kid features in the downtown square area like what other cities offer like downtown Kent – water feature, parks, kid-friendly features. The downtown square doesn’t have a single thing for the kids to play on or do except go into the library. Seems a bit odd to me.

  4. Chris says:

    I like art–especially cool and fun public art, but there are bigger fish to fry here in B-Town. I’d like to know specifically what the City of Burien and their Economic Development Department, the BEDP and Discover Burien is doing to attract new businesses? What is the plan or framework to make this happen? What is the city doing to revise it vision for downtown area (and the city as a whole)?

    These are the tough issues the city leadership should be dealing with. ALL of the city councilmembers should DO THEIR JOB and ensure that Burien prospers.

  5. All the literature about place making shows us that place making is becoming a leading economic development strategy. It is the idea that people will live in places that offer the most networks, amenities and resources for a thriving lifestyle. When the people that have economic talent live nearby, there will automatically be economic development in the city.

  6. Eaton B. Verz says:

    Seem we have a fair amount of public art in Burien and have yet to see any economic development. Does that mean we have a lack of economic talent, Robbie? Or is the city just not condusive to economic development in its current form? It’s a question our leaders seem to avoid. Awwww, what the heck. Let’s paint another wall……

  7. John Poitras says:

    Just about anything is better than the current plan of building high density low quality apartments.

  8. Eric says:

    I read the comments about how Burien needs business not art. The truth is the two go hand in hand. As was pointed out in the March 2010 issue of The Business Report, serving South King County. First, art is a business that spends money in the local economy. For example, BLT buys supplies and all that is necessary for a show, most all of that locally. Second, art brings customers to the city. For example, Burien Little Theatre has years of survey data that show that over 80% of its patrons eat and drink at a restaurant before or after a show. Most of that in Burien. Not to mention the cast and crew spending money during the rehearsal period of 6 weeks before opening. Third, the return on governmental investment in the arts is the highest. The return for governmental investments in the arts is $7 to $1. See the cover story in ICMA Public Management, Harnessing the Power of the Arts: Capitalizing on the Economic Power of the Creative Community, Oct 2008, Vol 90, No. 9. That is much higher than the return on say sports which is closer to $2 to $1.

    • Michael O'Neill says:

      Right on Eric! Art and business are not mutually exclusive. Galleries, theaters, hot shops, and bookstores are businesses. Unique restaurants and clothing stores, specialty grocery stores, and home accessory stores, to mention a few, attract customers who appreciate the arts. Any or all of these businesses would contribute to a vibrant Town Square. The incentives, however, need to be there – do you get it city council and developer? I’ve wondered why the owners of the condo development have not vigorously pursued Trader Joe’s or similar specialty grocery to anchor the vacant retail space.

      What’s on the table now for the undeveloped area is plain and simple low income housing, period. Is that what the citizens of Burien want for their town center – Really????

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