Letter to the Editor


I was talking with someone the other day about the efforts to build “A mixed-use project with parking, retail, and apartments located in sunken Parking Lot 2 / Blewett.”  I understand is it is to be about 50 apartments, and about 75 parking spaces to serve the apartments and about 6 retail shops. I was saying that I thought it was more valuable as a potential full scale parking lot/structure, but they said, “It was too valuable as commercial property to be used as parking.

I have been thinking about that “too valuable as commercial property to be used as parking” for some time now. Parking is a big part of any major store or mall.  In most cases more commercial property is dedicated to parking than retail buildings. I can’t imagine a Costco, Walmart, Target or any major retailer or mall without plenty of parking in close proximity to the stores. This idea that Leavenworth should build a parking lot up the Chumstick or on East Leavenworth and bus the customers into town doesn’t seem like a good solution to the parking problem.  First, I don’t think our visitors would find it convenient and second, I think the cost of running shuttles from early morning until the bars closed seven days a week would be cost prohibitive.  A parking garage built over the sunken parking lot next to the Festhalle seems like an ideal location. It is located right off Highway 2 so there is no need to direct cars through town to a remote location.  It is close to the Festhalle, which is our main event location, so no need for a long walk or shuttle for the visitors to the event.  It is offset to the east from the Festhalle so it wouldn’t block the view of the Festhalle.  A 4 or 5 story garage over the hole would leave the large adjacent surface parking lot available for Festhalle events like car shows, Ferris wheels, etc. As general visitor parking, it is close enough to most shops that a family that purchased items could take them to their car and then continue shopping or go to eat or explore the village. Also, a garage in the east part of town near the Festhalle works well with the DOT parking lot on the west end of town.

An additional point of interest is that the City owns the triangle shaped lot to the east of the lot hole which would allow for the ramps to the garage floors to be built outside the main structure thus preserving more garage space for cars.  It should also allow for equipment and material staging during construction causing less impact on existing parking.

With the transition of Front Street to a walking mall, that street parking has been lost and to add to that by converting the sunken Parking Lot 2 to the proposed mixed use only adds to the parking problem.  I feel that if the parking issue is not addressed in the near future that our customer base will slowly fade away.

I am supportive of affordable housing, however I can’t think of a less desirable location than right down town Leavenworth.  Where will kids play, on the street or within the parking area?  How will friends and family find parking close by to visit on busy weekends or holidays?  I believe the upper valley communities of Leavenworth, Cashmere, Dryden, Peshastin, and the County should come together and build affordable housing near the middle, in maybe Dryden or Peshastin. I would think more housing (even with a kids’ park area) could be built down valley than could be built as a costly high-rise structure in Leavenworth.  With the great Link bus system, residents would have access to jobs up and down the valley from Leavenworth to Wenatchee.  Many present Leavenworth residents work down valley because of the greater range of jobs and many ride the Link bus. Elmer Larsen, Leavenworth 


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