MICA takes next step toward lease approval

February 4, 2017 | by Erin Sirianni

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Preliminary design renderings of the Mercer Island Center for the Arts | Image credit: MICA

The Mercer Island Center for the Arts continues to make progress toward building an arts center on Mercer Island.

On January 18th, MICA completed and submitted the “Responses to Citizens’ Questions to the SEPA Checklist Submission” to fulfill the third step of the mandatory State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

SEPA reviews are part of the process for the City to approve new development projects, specifically focused on possible environmental impact. The City of Mercer Island received 26 letters and emails from community members responding to MICA’s SEPA submission.

The proposed arts center would be located in the northwest corner of Mercerdale Park, near the intersection of 77th Avenue SE and SE 32nd Street, on the site of  a former recycling center. The location has drawn critics from the community who object to the encroachment of park space. Yet MICA and supporters argue that the Center will be enhancement to Mercerdale Park, bringing the community to Mercerdale Park to enjoy the arts in a natural setting, encouraging park use, and appreciation.

MICA’s SEPA submission includes, among many other things, a traffic impact analysis; identification of adequate parking to meet city code; wetland delineation, geotechnical reports; slope stability review; and tree assessment.

“MICA compiled its SEPA submission working with independent experts in areas including parking, environmental studies, and transportation,” said Bruce Lorig, MICA Board member and chairman of its Building Committee. “We look forward to continued collaboration with the City and City Council to complete the SEPA review and move to the next step in bringing the MICA facility to life for our community.”

MICA representatives state that their organization is committed to environmental stewardship. The building will be designed to LEED Silver standards. Proposed green measures include water efficient landscaping, use of native plants, wetland restoration, and energy-efficient mechanical systems and commissioning. The site design also includes enhancements to areas of the property that are degraded and partially paved.

Mercer Island Center for the Arts is a Washington State nonprofit corporation and registered 501(c)3 organization formed to promote arts performance, exhibition and education on Mercer Island.

Learn more about the Mercer Island Center for the Arts at  www.mercerislandarts.org or visit the MICA office at 7710 SE 29th Street, Mercer Island.