After spending three years as a market researcher in the greater Seattle area, I am amazed to see the difference in living standards between the Ballard area and Burien. Both have similar access to beautiful landscapes and waterfronts. Both areas have equal zoning for commercial and residential districts. Both are very difficult to access by car.
Demographically, they are twins. Yet somehow Ballard is a destination for homeowners while Burien remains unmentioned in Seattle’s entertainment columns. Even in a struggling economy Ballard continues to thrive while Burien residents struggle with unemployment and stagnated property values.
I have had the privilege of studying the consumer habits of households all over Washington and have found that talent goes wherever the best neighborhoods are. People who choose to live in Ballard do so because of the live jazz shows, the privately owned theaters, the Saturday markets and local events. Ballard is a destination and Burien is getting left out.
This is unacceptable. Burien has a vibrant culture and the people there have an entrepreneurial mind geared towards making great things. The Burien Little Theatre is an example. Committed to producing quality shows that engage and involve the entire Puget Sound region, talent comes from all over Washington to participate in their performances. This local theatre provides a platform for aspiring young performers to grow their skills and expand into other theaters in the region. For sixty dollars, the people of Burien can enjoy an entire year of inspired young talent right in their own neighborhood.
Burien is a wonderful community with a downtown area that should attract people from all over King county. This will only happen if the municipal government of Burien begins to act to protect, not relocate, organizations that will foster cultural growth. I am speaking to you as a researcher with quantifiable data regarding two communities that are otherwise equal: Make sure that your local bureaucrats support the arts!
Culture is an investment. It will attract talent and business, raise property values and stimulate growth in any community that chooses to support it. There is no reason that Burien should not be the most beautiful and prosperous region of all of Seattle. Contact your local government (http://burienwa.gov/index.aspx?NID=75 – look below photo to email to full council) today and tell them that you want to invest your tax dollars in the future of your community and, if you have time, go check out the Burien Little Theatre.