Letters to the Editor

Wrong place for a homeless shelter

A proposed homeless shelter on East Meeker is the wrong use for that site. It is located within the downtown zone.

Even though we are the sixth largest city in the state, our downtown is very fragile. I trust that the City Council knows this and will treat our downtown with care.

Drive down West Meeker and note all of the empty storefronts. Those few merchants who are doing business are struggling daily to meet their expenses.

Our focus on downtown Kent needs to be that we do everything we can do to attract and keep retail business, so the downtown can thrive. Kent Station can complement the downtown, and the downtown can in turn complement Kent Station.

To allow a homeless shelter within this area will delay and perhaps inhibit the population growth that we need to support the retail business that we so badly need.

I will also note that directly across the street from the proposed shelter is the Hong Kong Market. The owners invested a lot of money to bring their market to Kent. It appears to be very successful as the parking areas are always full. This market also provides the city with tax revenue.

If the city does not want to use the building for services or even storage, then let's sell it and let private business use it as they wish. This would put the property on the tax rolls, thus, providing more revenue for the city.

I have property in downtown Kent that has been vacant for three years. The homeless have continually used my property to build their "nests." They are very creative. They also leave trash behind, soiled clothing and defecate at will. As a result, I have had to hire someone to check daily for garbage and trash so when the property is shown to a prospective buyer, there is no evidence of homeless use.

The homeless people who use my property will continue to do so as long as the property is vacant, even if the shelter is provided. There is a reason why these individuals choose to be separate from the general population.

The question before you is whether the best use for the building is a $1 dollar per year lease from the city of Kent. I strongly encourage you to seek a better, more valuable solution.

– Dee Moschel

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