A recent telephone survey was conducted to find out what Seattleites think about putting a levy on the ballot to benefit the Seattle Center and the Pike Place Market.
Respondents to the lengthy survey, this reporter included, were asked among other things if they thought the levy should include both the Seattle Center and the Pike Place Market or whether it would be better to put separate levies for each on the ballot.
The survey came as news to the mayor's office, the Seattle City Council, a city clerk in charge of bond and levy measures, the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Sonics, the Pike Place Market and Perry Cooper, media-relations manager for the Seattle Center.
But Seattle Center Director Virginia Anderson knew about the survey. She returned to work last week after taking much of the summer off, and Anderson said the survey was commissioned by the Seattle Center as part of its long-range planning efforts.
She stressed, however, that the chances of a levy ending up on a ballot are nil for the foreseeable future. "There's no campaign; there's nobody doing anything." Besides, Anderson noted, the current Seattle Center levy doesn't expire until 2007.
Instead - characterizing it as a business survey, not a political one - she said floating the idea of putting a levy in front of voters was simply one option of many the Seattle Center is exploring. "What would be put on the table that needs to be happening next?" is how Anderson put it.
The Seattle Center expects to complete a business plan by next April to address the "long-term sustainability" of the Seattle Center, she said. Separate committees in the planning group will address different issues such as major festivals, Marion Oliver McCaw Hall and the Center's operating budget, for example.
"You can't look at our budget ... without looking at the Key (Arena)," she added. The Key isn't making nearly as much money as was expected since two new sports stadiums were built in Seattle, Anderson noted.
So one option would be going to the state and asking them for money for the Seattle Center stadium, just like the other two sports facilities did, she said. It would only be fair, according to Anderson, because the new stadiums have a competitive advantage over the Key because they were subsidized with tax dollars.
But Anderson wasn't sure why the Pike Place Market ended up as part of the telephone survey. "People are talking about it, I know," she said of the downtown attraction. But that's about it. "I haven't had a single discussion with the Market," Anderson said.
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