Opinion | Loop idea is a good start to explore downtown's potential
By SETH TRUSCOTT
Snoqualmie Valley Record Editor
July 12, 2012 · 5:03 PM
Wendy Thomas kept telling me that she didn’t want to relive the past. Specifically, she didn’t want to keep reopening old wounds—the ten years of missed opportunities that she and fellow downtown merchants experienced when Snoqualmie’s main tourist route changed from Highway 202 to the Snoqualmie Parkway. Ever since, she and other merchants have described a changed neighborhood, where, at its most extreme, fewer than half of the number of visitors stopped and shopped.
I never knew that the downtown had seen such changes, as I’m a relative newcomer here. But I’ve had some time to think about Thomas’ views over the last few weeks, and it strikes me that what happened to Snoqualmie is something of a miniature version of what happened to North Bend when the bypass came. So Thomas’ idea is akin to a downtown renewal.
Recently, I wrote that the Valley needs some creative, consensual thinking when it comes to taking full advantage of tourism. Wendy’s loop idea is just that. With her dozens of signatures of local merchants and residents, both downtown and Ridge, because it shows how people who might normally compete are seeking to pull in the same direction.
There’s potential here. In the best case, all Snoqualmie merchants, Ridge and downtown, succeed, and the wealth gets spread. At worst, things stay the same. Maybe a sign-led driving loop is an anachronism in today’s smart-phone powered world, but consideration of it—and a community conversation on the best ways to promote and capitalize on our natural, tourist resources—is a step in the right direction. Thomas is already thinking about linking with North Bend, and then, Fall City. She’s ready to put the past behind her, and can’t wait for a brighter, busier future for everyone. Hear, hear.
Contact Snoqualmie Valley Record Editor Seth Truscott at email@example.com or 1-425-888-2311.