As Cienna reports over on Slog, the panel tasked with reviewing proposals for redeveloping the Seattle Center’s Fun Forest has recommended a Chihuly Museum as the best use of the 1.6 acre site.
The whole selection process was of course a sham intended to mollify opponents of the for-profit glass tchotchke gallery, gift shop and catering hall with the semblance of public input, so that all involved could pat themselves on the back that the Seattle Way was appropriately honored. And like trained monkeys, we all scampered into the public meetings and rode our unicycles on command.
Last night hundreds of people gathered again to voice our opinions about the best public use of the Fun Forest site at the Seattle Center, and once again we couldn’t help but get the vibe that we were just being humored. Oh, the committee and the Chihuly gift-shop/catering-hall folks at least tried to make a better show of it this time as compared to the insulting propaganda-fest of the first public meeting, but it was still just a show. I didn’t talk to anybody who believed a decision hasn’t already been made.
The problem is, as much as the committee will ultimately claim that this was a fair and open process, there’s nothing fair or open about taking a year and a half to secretly negotiate the details of the Chihuly proposal, and then publishing an RFP tailored to the same while giving everybody else just six weeks to respond. And so yeah, I kinda resented being there last night playing the role of “Man in Auditorium” in the Seattle Center’s unintentional amateur production of Our Town.
And like most bad theater, it’s not hard to predict how this play ends.
Yup, a complete and total sham.
That said, I suppose I should take a little satisfaction in helping to pressure the Space Needle folks to add to the proposal $1 million for an “artist-designed playground,” plus $50,000 a year for maintenance. But a million bucks doesn’t buy you a lot of playground these days, so it strikes me as an awfully cheap price in exchange for building an 8-foot wall around a couple acres of scarce, in-city park space.
Ah well, money talks, and all that.