Why are we willing to spend so much on the Gateway Center when the Aberdeen Museum of History has not yet been replaced three years after the fire?
It makes sense to use the $22 million armory fire insurance settlement replacing what we lost — our Aberdeen Museum — perhaps building on the location of the former armory, or perhaps building on the location of the former Pourhouse, where the Gateway Center is proposed.
Apparently, the city has already committed $7 million of the insurance funds to build the Gateway Center, even though its purpose is rather fuzzy.
Travelers hurry through Aberdeen on their way to somewhere else, but we could provide reasons for them to stop here by building a new museum/welcome station near the Wishkah Bridge. We already have a parking lot/electric charging station there. We already have a park with picnic benches there. Travelers look for clean bathrooms with running water, which we definitely need to provide if we want tourists!
If tourists stop for those reasons, they might check out the museum and perhaps the Chamber of Commerce for information about our history and our attractions. They might decide to visit businesses we already have downtown, and they might make Aberdeen a regular stop on their way to the beaches or the mountains.
We know we will always have tourists passing though town, but we do not know if corporations will want to rent space here from the city.
Do we choose to spend insurance money attracting unknown corporations (Gateway), or do we choose to spend it enhancing travelers’ experiences here while we preserve our history (Museum)?
Greg and Becky Durr