I saw the following line in the story about the Downtown Partnership in last week’s issue: “I would like to, as everybody else, see it revitalized into businesses that could complete the consumer circle rather than just the antique stores and the pawn stores,” Ragland said.
We only have three antique stores left and they are drawing business into downtown Renton. We need these kinds of businesses that support the economy of downtown. Ben’s Pawn shop does lots of business. We have lost many responsible downtown businesses due to indecisiveness of the city to create a safe and clean environment. What we don’t need more of is bars!
A major downtown problem is the location of the Transportation Center (TC). It should have been placed on Grady where it would have been as convenient but not in the downtown center where it is creating so many problems. The location of the TC was not well researched or the research was ignored. But it’s here now, so police it 24/7.
No businesses rent the spaces provided around the bus terminal. A major business located next to the TC moved because of the criminal and loitering problems. Their customers had plenty of parking available at the multi-storied parking garage so that wasn’t the problem. (Actually, I’m still trying to figure out what the multi-storied parking garage is for.)
Another very obvious problem is the large homeless population in Renton. It appears that the city doesn’t have an office that deals with this situation besides the Police Department. There isn’t one organization that serves the homeless on a daily basis. The sleeping accommodations are under the overpasses and under bridges, illegal camping and public libraries.
The public restrooms in the parks are closed on a regular basis which presents problems. It is unreasonable to simply close “public restrooms” because of vandalism. Fix them and hose them down but don’t close them.
A couple of our government leaders are saying how proud they are of the progress being made in downtown Renton. I live in downtown Renton and I’d like to take a short walk with them so they can show me what exactly they are proud of doing.
While I’m glad that the there is a public gathering to discuss what to do about downtown Renton I just hope that it doesn’t turn into yet another group that doesn’t think downtown building owners don’t have a responsibility or that the City isn’t responsible for fixing downtown Renton’s problems. No drug store or grocery store or company will come to downtown Renton until they see actual improvement in safety and appearance.