My purpose in writing this is to weigh in amongst other voices in our community about the need for building a new city center here in Manzanita. I became a second-home owner in Manzanita in 1997, and a full-time resident in 2012. I realize that I must compete with many voices from other citizens who seemingly know a lot more about real estate development, architecture, construction, city management, local history, economics, taxation, forestry, local, state and federal law, engineering, education, timber, climate science, etc. Although I have learned a lot, and have done careful research on many topics, I still have come to one very important and solid opinion. Here it is:

We need the proposed City Center. We need it because as citizens of one of the most beautiful places on the Oregon Coast, we have an obligation to house our city servants in a safe and adequate location. We all know there is more to it. We need a City Center that will accommodate the growth of Manzanita in years to come. We need to face the fact that we are unique. We live in the shadow of earthquake and tsunami risk. It is always there, when you go to bed at night, when you get up in the morning. Three times this summer, we have awakened to a news report that an earthquake occurred on the Oregon Coast. Each of these reports made my stomach lurch a bit and my heart race! Most of the people I know here in town had a twinge of anxiety too! I am thankful to the people here who have educated me on preparedness, assisted me in having my go-bag ready, and my route and plans clear.

Now, we have a chance to gift the future residents, who may even be our own children and grandchildren, a place to provide safety and sanctuary for all. How we proceed from here is unknown. The building is only a start. I think it is extremely far sighted that our city leaders have addressed our needs with an eye for growth in the future. I am grateful for that. They have certainly taken some flack and mud slinging for it.

I have heard and read some pretty ugly comments about the leaders we unanimously elected. I have also seen facts manipulated, exaggerated, and comments misrepresented. That makes me sad because I have always assumed we were better than that. I have seen enough to know that if any of our current elected officials were to be on a future ballot, I would vote for them again. Unfortunately, I have seen the backsides of some people who I would never consider voting for should they ever run for public office.

Such is the way of democracy!

I have been discredited many times, lately about my supportive comments to building a new City Center. I am a retired classroom teacher. I put 38 years into teaching in three states, and acquired two advanced degrees while doing so. I am proud of that, and I know that my biggest asset is the fact that I can take big chunks of ideas, facts and figures and put it all in chewable bites. I know what it takes to grow a mind. This is why I can say to you now that we have a remarkable opportunity here to help our city continue to grow and flourish and be proud of it.

By the way, my income is my teachers pension. I did not make big bucks and knew that from the get go! I have researched my own tax records and am proud and happy to pay the extra 200-300 dollars a year for this project. Lastly, the very building that some citizens hold as an alternative to house our city center was once a school but only for ten years. It was woefully inadequate even in its day, and when the Neakahnie school district was formed, the school gladly moved to the present site in Nehalem! There is a lesson in that fact!

Cindy Kenne

Manzanita

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