For the last few months we have read and heard much about the proposed Pierce County services building.
Pierce County certainly needs its own custom designed and well-organized administration building for the convenience of its workers and county residents.
Opponents of this project tell us that the county shouldn’t spend a lot of money for this building. That would leave us with only one alternative: to keep on renting multiple offices as the county has done for many years. Even after paying millions of dollars in rent every year, multiple offices are scattered all over the city at different locations. It is, therefore, essential for the county to have its own building where all their administrative offices will be at one place.
We elected our representatives to the Pierce County Council in hopes that they would safeguard the interests of the county. This elected council by a majority vote decided that the county needs this building and that construction should begin without any delay.
Without having any knowledge of county finances, are we really qualified to tell elected council members who have thoroughly reviewed this project that they made a wrong decision?
Please vote in favor of constructing this building by rejecting the referendum on the Nov. 3 ballot.
I would like to note the proposed location of the building. The public has never been made aware of the fact that the site is unique and irreplaceable for the future offices of the county. The county already owns several acres of this land, enough to have a beautiful building as designed with parking space for the employees.
The site, the former Puget Sound Hospital, is just four blocks from Interstate 5, providing easy access for county employees coming from any direction. The location is just 12 blocks from downtown Tacoma. In the very near future this small area between downtown and county building will conceivably provide a boost to several small businesses and restaurants.
Puget Sound Hospital is located at a high spot on Pacific Avenue. The location is an historic icon for the city. The first Pierce County Hospital at this place was the only approved teaching hospital for physicians in the city, had a very active emergency facility for patients and housed the County Medical Clinic.
When King County Hospital in Seattle changed its name to Harborview Hospital, the Pierce County Hospital was changed to Mountain View Hospital. Finally, when the Burlington Northern Railways bought it in 1971, the name was changed to Puget Sound Hospital.
From this building one gets to see the most magnificent view of Commencement Bay, Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountains.
The view is so spectacular that Puget Sound Hospital probably was the only hospital in the nation allowed by the Joint Commission of Hospitals to maintain special glass walls in its operating rooms. The view will be further enhanced from the proposed nine-story county building.
Please let us not miss this opportunity. This will be a point of pride that the county in which we live has a beautiful home of its own. For all of us it will be so convenient to go to only one building for all our needs.
Let us look forward to the day when we will all celebrate the opening of the new county services building with our elected council members. See you at the polls in November.
Mian H. Anwar, a retired Tacoma physician, was the first medical director at Puget Sound Hospital’s Alcoholic Recovery Center.