In time, most controversies will be forgotten. Some we will never forget, but those will become a distant memory brought up less and less.
This can be said about so many topics, though I am speaking specifically about the new Pullman City Hall. Right now it is red-hot and it will remain red-hot until the next issue comes up.
Do you remember the Pullman Walmart fight?
I suppose most have forgotten how contentious the issue was until I brought it up. Those who were against Walmart probably remember the fight. They bad-mouthed Walmart every opportunity that arose. Eventually, enough time passed that those who were against Walmart moved to a more contemporary object to despise, such as President Trump.
Early on, those against Walmart claimed how bad traffic would be on Bishop Boulevard. People would drive at high rates of speed through residential neighborhoods because of the gridlock on Bishop Boulevard. People would die in the back of ambulances stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital. Deer would become sterile due to the lights from the Walmart parking lot.
How many people remember these actual arguments against Walmart’s construction? I suspect very few people remember.
A dozen or so years later, and Walmart isn’t something most think or talk about. I believe the city hall project will be very similar. In a few years there will be a new object to polarize Pullman residents. I think in the next decade, most residents will be happy that we have a new city hall.
Some people were against the idea from the start, but now that estimates came back higher than the proposed budget, additional unhappy citizens are becoming vocal. I have read that people want the current location sold. Many people have objected to the chosen location on Crestview. Some people think the cost is just way too high to move forward. Some people are blaming the City Council for everything bad about the new city hall.
I wrote in the past a new city hall location is needed and that opinion has not changed. The current city hall building and location is too small. Any more growth will force additional departments into satellite locations and/or make working conditions less than ideal.
The new location has room to expand. There is room to park. There is room for employees who are currently at satellite locations to move into city hall. This will make it better for the residents who have to deal with multiple departments. This will make collaboration between the various departments easier.
I am not wearing rose-colored glasses. I think the city pulled a fast one. It was never made clear to the residents that the district court would be removed from the new city hall. The city was very careful in the wording chosen for the advertisements and very careful not to make any mention about the subtraction of district court.
Had they done so, the voters would have rejected city hall. I was also disappointed that the city made it sound like the new city hall space would be much larger.
This was done to make it more attractive. What we found out is the new building is merely 10 percent larger. The majority of the additional space went to the Pullman Parks and Recreation department, not city hall.
For all its faults in some other areas of policy, I don’t blame the City Council for these deceptions. Even those on the council were blindsided by some of this information once the vote was completed. If our City Council didn’t know, and the residents who were voting didn’t know, then clearly the process was not transparent.
I, too, have some issues with how this new city hall came into existence. In spite of these side issues, the reality is this new city hall was needed, and in a decade no one will remember the fight.
Scotty Anderson is a computer programmer who enjoys serving the community through various community-oriented service jobs.