Mercer Island Center for the Arts clears 'Parks Petition' hurdle

June 5, 2016 | by Erin Sirianni

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MICA, a beautiful backdrop for the Mercer Island Farmers Market | Contributed image
The Mercer Island Center for the Arts continues to surmount the challenges in its path – and the ‘Parks Petition’ was certainly a significant hurdle.

Despite a passionate campaign that included two TV ad spots, the Concerned Citizens for Mercer Island Parks (CCMIP) were not able to gather the 2600 signatures needed by June 2nd, 2016, to place a “Protect our Parks” initiative on the November ballot.

The initiative would have limited changes in the use of existing parkland on Mercer Island and was created after the City Council agreed to lease an acre at the corner of Mercerdale Park (where the old recycling center is) to the Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA).

On June 3rd, MICA Board President John Gordon Hill sent a letter of appreciation to supporters stating:

MICA would like to thank the voters of Mercer Island for thoughtfully evaluating the petition and for concluding that our parks are for everyone and that our community will benefit from opportunities for the arts to enhance our parks. MICA would also like to thank Support Mercer Island Parks and Arts (SMIPA) and its volunteers for working tirelessly over last three months to educate the Islanders about this initiative.”

SMIPA launched a “Decline to Sign” campaign to counter the ‘Parks Petition’ and even provided instruction on how to retract signatures to community members who signed but later changed their minds. SMIPA reported that over 100 individuals took such a measure.

The finish line is still in the distance for MICA, though the horizon looks a little brighter. The organization can now proceed with fundraising for its $25 million capital campaign.  (Consider joining me as a ‘Friend of MICA’!)

Hill welcomes continued community feedback about MICA, which will have booths at future Farmers Markets, Mostly Music in the Parks concerts, and at Summer Celebration to update Islanders on progress and to answer any questions.

Learn more about MICA at:

P.S.  If you read The Stranger’s defense of MICA, here’s another colorful piece on the ‘Parks Petition’ outcome.

Image credit: Mercer Island Center for the Arts