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Saturday, October 19, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Letters To The Editor

Urban Rest Stop -- City Should Be Commended For Decision On 2 Restrooms

Historic Seattle Preservation and Development Authority's Council would like to join with The Times Oct. 8 editorial, "Finding the best spots for public restrooms," in applauding both Mayor Norm Rice and Seattle's downtown business community for their leadership in siting two public hygiene facilities - one in the Denny Regrade and the other at Fifth Avenue and Cherry Street.

There has never been a debate about the need for this type of facility for those who are homeless. And at a time when federal social-service funding is declining, private-sector underwriting will ensure that those in downtown Seattle who need a place to use the toilet and bathe will have it.

Historic Seattle's Council had been concerned that the development of such a facility adjacent to the historic Mann Building would have adversely impacted the restoration of that important landmark structure.

There are countless examples of the positive cultural and economic impacts that historic preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings has on the community. Government can help with wise public facility siting and public safety efforts, but it cannot and should not be asked to do the job alone.

Private sector investments, creativity and vision, such as we have seen with the Paramount Theatre redevelopment and the one proposed for the Mann Building, are essential.

In case of the downtown hygiene facilities, the Mayor's support of two centers in areas served by free public transit will meet the needs of the homeless and support the redevelopment of our retail core.

Michael Herschensohn Chair, Historic Seattle PDA Council

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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