Some claim preferential treatment in new waterfront 'gateway'

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 7:04 PM

To some, it's a golden gateway to the Seattle waterfront. To others it's just a big, yellow rectangle painted on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. To Ken Eubank, it's a sign of major frustration. Eubank owns the Seattle Antiques Market just across the street from the new "gateway," and so far, he isn't impressed.

"Right now, it doesn't look very pretty," he said.

This week, city workers are painting a 62 foot flourescent yellow sign that will point people toward the Seattle Aquarium. Eubank believes the direction the city is taking is all wrong.

"I think it's preferential treatment," he said. 

He says it isn't fair for the city to spend $9,600 on a sign promoting the city-owned aquarium, while others struggle to attract business. "I'm not the Aquarium, but I'm still a good, solid business for the waterfront. Where's my sign?"

If the city was going to promote the Aquarium, Eubank thought he'd ask the city for $250 for sandwich boards to direct people to his business. His proposal was rejected.

"It's a slippery slope," said Marshall Foster, Manager of Planning and Design for the waterfront redevelopment project. "The Aquarium is owned by the city. It's a public destination, just a like a public park, so we use it as a landmark to direct people."

Foster says anything that brings people to the waterfront is a good thing. He believes the Aquarium is an anchor on Elliott Bay that draws tourists who then shop and eat at nearby businesses.

"It'll help send a message that this is the way to get down to the waterfront and enjoy it," said Foster.
 

The painting is located where Union Street runs under the viaduct. Next week the city plans to install kiosks along the waterfront to help direct tourists to local businesses.

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