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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our Town Center - A Place That Matters in Shoreline!

We've talked a lot about Places That Matter in this blog. And today, I'm responding to a statement made in Shoreline LFP PATCH.
Shoreline's Ronald Place

Columnist Larry Lewis has an interesting column about the Town Center proposal which recently passed at City Council. He made a lot of correct statements, but I believe he's not correct in his final statement where he stated that there are,
"very few historical artifacts and places here." 
I responded that in fact we DO have many historical elements left, though some are not obvious. Here's my statement to him in a comment.
Good column on the Town Center. However, I beg to differ with your last statement that we have "very few historical artifacts and places here".
In point of fact, the Red Brick Road (Ronald Place or North Trunk Road) is VERY historical and though it may be a bit below the radar of many, it is right there guiding us to a possible future that honors our heritage and especially points the way to a town center that can be a vibrant commercial area, where people can live, work and recreate. It is eligible for the National Historic Register.

The Red Brick Road can be highlighted and continued up through Firlands Way, which can be a "walkable street" potentially. The Town Center Park, could be a place that highlights the "RBR" and compliments it with places of interest to visit, such as a "interpretive center" about our history of development along Aurora Ave, maybe gardens, art, and how about an "arcade" to use as a shelter for events?
Also, as you mention we do still have other remaining historical elements and gems that can be highlighted. They are there if you care to look like the Richmond Masonic Lodge, Highland Ice Arena, Ronald Methodist Church, Auto Cabins and yes, the "outside" of the Ronald School. We also have many other historical elements in Shoreline, such as in Richmond Beach, The Crest Cinema, the Fircrest Chapel, and the old Firlands buildings, amazing parks, huge trees and many more.
The trick is we need to allow beneficial development that does not inadvertently destroy what's left and which can enhance our remaining heritage. Look at what some other cities have done to take advantage of their "main streets", like Bothell, Snohomish and Anacortes. We can still do a lot to make this a great place to live and also to visit.

Shoreline's Red Brick Road (Ronald Place or North Trunk Road), was built in 1912. That's right, next year will be the Centennial of this wonderful artifact. It is the last remaining piece of the original Aurora Ave, Hwy 99.  Shoreline became a place, because Judge J.T. Ronald advocated, cajoled and invested in having it built (he was a former Mayor of Seattle who built a summer home here). He dug the curving section that remains (Ronald Place) himself to ensure that it went around his house and well. He then donated the property for the Ronald School, because he believed in education. He's previously demanded a trolley station on the Interuban Rail, which ended up being named for him, though he had wanted it named for his daughters.

Let's make the Town Center Park a "Centennial Walk" to celebrate 100 years of our community's development, that extends up Firlands Way and provides an informative trail all around out Town Center.

Red Brick Road
Of course we also have many, many other historical elements here, which could be highlighted as we develop our Town Center and Town Center Park, if we plan carefully, and creatively. Let's get this right Shoreline! So many worthwhile things in Shoreline, if you just know where to look!

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