The Seattle Good Taste Police have always had a problem with Fun Forest (Trivia: In the World's fair days, it was known as the "Gayway") People having fun, other than wine-and-cheese receptions in beige living rooms is always problematic to them.

The sooner we can get Chihuly in there the better. No one ever has fun looking at tacky outdated corporate art.
Thank you so much Goldy.

I should probably clarify that I was not at the meeting where they told the upper management folks that they will be kicking the vendors out in July to begin construction.
Having worked @ the Center for a number of years, I am also friends with many of the vendors in the food court, this little revelation was not a shock to them either.

Perhaps a hay maze in the middle of the Center House where the Children's Museum currently resides is in the plans for the future. Kids love hay mazes right?
Good lord, Catalina, if not for the gorgeous don't-give-a-fuck working-class boys who ran those rides, the taste in men I began to develop as a small child might have been awfully bland.

Thanks to the Fun Forest I never had to dream of a glossy Prince Charming in a crisp clean T-shirt. No, I had standoffish Bud, who ran the Tilt-a-Whirl in between bong hits and wore his own coveralls with no shirt beneath. Sigh.
No Chihuly Monument, please!

Chihuly can have his monument - he just shouldn't be allowed to have a corporate beard strong arm a sweetheart deal to put it on public property, is all.
See, I thought the whole reason we had to get rid of the Fun Forest was because it didn't pay the bills. Chilhuly would pay the bills. But it turns out the Fun Forest pays the bills just fine, and the Chihuly thing is just a tax dodge for the Wrights so they can write off their collection of worthless Chilhuly glass for millions. Nice. On public land, too.

The monument that should go up is to the poor people who lived in the tenements that were razed to build the Center in the first place.
If you take out stuff like this and replace it with bland Chihuly crap you might as well just close down the Seattle Center and reconnect the road network. If the idea is to have a public gathering place then you should keep tenants that encourage the public to gather. A Chihuly museum gives no incentive for people to stay in the public areas and would do just as well on any street in the city.
This is one of the few times that Fnarf is right.
Goldy - you're too smart for this sort of one sided "reporting". Shoddy work.

Do a google search for "Fun Forest Debt" and get the whole story, not this one sided shit.

The Fun Forest is being closed because attendance is down and it was behind in rent payments. The City Council made this decision in 2007, long before the Chihuly idea existed, and before McGinn. This was not some surprise as McNeeley suggested. The Fun Forest has been paying rent, but a very reduced rent. The City was able to find a new tenant (another private company) that could pay twice as much rent, bring in millions for other projects on campus, and bring more people to the Center, benefiting all the other organization.


The Fun Forest has known it would be closed for years. This wasn't some surprise as "Under a proposed deal with the city, the Fun Forest amusement park, a remnant of the 1962 World's Fair, would permanently close at the end of 2009."

"The Fun Forest has lost business in recent years and fallen behind on rent payments to the city. In exchange for reduced rent, the Fun Forest would agree to shorten its lease, which now runs through 2014. The City Council's parks committee is scheduled to vote on the proposal today."

When this decision was made in 2007, "The amusement park owes $763,890 in back rent, fees and taxes to the city, and is projected to fall an additional $821,000 short this year and next."

Now, instead of the 5 acres a private company paid low rent on (and apparently not on time), if the Mayor and Council go with the Chihuly option we'll have a new $1 million playground with money for maintenance for 20 years (aren't you happy someone listened to your idea Goldy?), a great stage for outdoor concerts, a revamped food court (hopefully with some decent food - can't really feel sorry for the Pizza Huts and the like who will hopefully be replaced) and KEXP on a campus also home to Vera and SIFF, not to mention the Children's Museum, Pacific Science Center, EMP, McCaw Hall, etc etc.

Yet Goldy, you would rather have some not as popular as they used to be kiddie rides that pay little rent, a very badly in need of updating center house, and a bunch of empty pavement? I'll take Nellams' vision over yours any day with the added bonus of millions in extra income for the City and many more visitors to the Center.
PS - It is sort of blowing my mind how the Stranger continues to print intentional mis-information on this topic. In the last few years, Center Director Robert Nellams has brought The Vera Project to campus, the SIFF Cinema, SIFF offices, a Skateboard Park, a revamped Pride party, the KEXP Summer Concert Series, and now it looks like a great new playground, KEXP's offices and performance studio, an exhibit of Seattle's most popular artist, a revamped food court, and more open space.

Nellams has done all this while the City has screwed the Center, losing the Sonics, entering into an annual money losing lease with The Storm (Thanks Nickels and Ceiss!), and keeping ridiculous contracts with unions who make doing events at the Center pretty much economically unfeaseable.

I say props to Nellams for making moves to keep the Center vital while the City flounders in bad deals and budget deficits. And if he and McGinn pull this off, they have done a pretty awesome job with what they've been given to work with.
@9- Thanks for saying it so well. Saved me a lot of typing.

Well Goldy, is Meinert right here? If so, why are you mis-leading us? If not, where is he wrong?

it's Pizza Haven, Dave, and I hope it stays. It's the last location of an old Northwest pizza chain that some still have fond memories of. Also their six cheese and garlic slice is delicious. Please don't put a Big Mario's in the Center House.
@13, it'll be a branch of the 5 Point soon enough. Bwahaha. Just kidding, Dave.
@13 - Holy shit, did Totem Lake mall finally sink back into the swamp? (finger's crossed)

I 100% agree with what #1 says, but sadly, the tacky museum is probably still the best option for the center.
I was set to do what Meinert did. It doesn't take much googling to find out how incredibly full of shit most of the Stranger staff is on this topic.

Jesus Christ, Stranger. Were you always this shitty on reporting substantive issues? I was blown away by Dominic's piece on the tunnel, what with all of the research and patient and reasoned examination of the issues.

I have this sinking feeling that this is probably indicative of most of the Stranger's journalism and reporting on issues. They get a bee up their ass about something and then, like a pit bull out for Dan Savage, they just keep repeating bullshit stuff over and over, with little regard for facts or common sense.

Pretty sure a one-eyed pirate stole Cienna's baby or something, because she gave up any semblance of objectivity on this topic long ago. But Gordy? I expected more out of you.
Dave @9 & @10,

Yes, the decision to close the Fun Forest was made years ago... as was the decision to transform the area into open space.

But the real issue to me is that we are taking away a unique urban amenity for families with young kids—a rare, in-city amusement park—and replacing it with what...? A glass "museum"...? Really? In city that is already so family-unfriendly?

And yeah, it's great that my incessant whining on the issue was rewarded with $1 million for a playground, but a million bucks doesn't buy you much playground, so I don't see this as a fair trade. In the end, we're taking a space that was used for decades by residents, and replacing it with a for-profit space aimed at tourists. Maybe it produces more revenue for the Center, I don't know. But it doesn't improve our quality of life.

As for the issue of extending the Fun Forest lease short term, until construction starts on the Ye Olde Glass Shoppe, first we're told it's all about the money, and then they can suddenly afford to turn away a $250,000 check. And besides, I'm still a little pissed at the sham public process they put us through, when everybody knew this decision was finalized well before it was announced.
karion @16,

It's "Goldy," and if you're going to accuse me of being full of shit, please point out the inaccuracies in my post, so that I can correct it.
Goldy, a little research might help.

The Fun Forest has famously failed to pay its rent for years and years and years, and they've been threatened with eviction for years and years and years. This goes back long before Chihuly, and no, I'm not going to Google it for you.

Look, I love the Fun Forest as much as the next guy, but you you need to get your story straight.
@6: From what I understand of this deal, the only way the for-profit museum would lower the Wright's taxes is if it loses money.

P.S. The Fun Forest, charming as it is, has a long long history of delinquent rent. Apparently, most people in Seattle like the idea of the Fun Forest more than the actual experience. Personally, I've spent hundreds of dollars there on rides for my kids.
seandr @19,

I know the whole history of the Fun Forest, but I'm talking about here and now. They offered to pay $250,000 to stay on until September. The Center would rather refuse the money and leave the space vacant for the moment.
Sorry, Goldy. I can appreciate how frustrating it is for you when people are sloppy with facts and details, especially ones right in front of them.

Maybe you could read the article Meinhert linked above? The one where it was reported that the Fun Forest was $700K+ in the hole a few years ago, and were projected to incur the same annual debt for the next two years. The GM (Robertson) of the Fun Forest said the City was giving them a fair deal - they had debt forgiveness and reduced rent for the last two years in exchange for early termination of their lease. And this was all agreed upon long before the Chihuly proposal. That is a pretty important bit of context for the email you printed - the one where a different manager is now claiming the City is being unfair.

I think the rest of your comment speaks for itself. You don't think a million dollar playground is enough, if the deal is good for Chihuly now, they should be willing to postpone their project for a few years until the Fun Forest finally goes out of business, and even though absolutely no one has come up with a better proposal, we should have had MORE process when it comes to finding someone to actually pay market rent at the Center, and, in any event, you don't know if the Chihuly museum will produce more revenue for the Center - you just don't want it.

Oh, and incidentally? The Fun Forest was a for-profit space - it is being replaced by another for-profit space. I really enjoyed it, and loved having it at the Center. It was distinctly Seattle and awesome. But the Fun Forest wasn't even considered as a viable future tenant, and they got a sweetheart deal in the end - they have no business bitching now,. and a simple google would have told you that.

I don't know. It is probably a thousand shades of stupid to expect something approximating journalism on Slog.

"it's great that my incessant whining on the issue was rewarded with $1 million for a playground, but a million bucks doesn't buy you much playground"

Goldy, sometimes you're smart at wity. Sometimes you say things that make no sense. How much money did you want for a playground? And how did you propose to pay for it? I'll take a $1mill playground and keep in mind the proposal calls for another $1 mil for upkeep over 20 years. That's a damned fine deal if you ask me.

"we're taking a space that was used for decades by residents, and replacing it with a for-profit space aimed at tourists. Maybe it produces more revenue for the Center, I don't know. But it doesn't improve our quality of life."

Ugh. You pain me G. Yes, the Fun Forest was used by some residents. It was probably primarily used by tourists. And it itself is a private for profit company. The difference being the new building will be a private for profit promoting art. And far more people, residents included, will benefit from it. And while you might not be a glass art fan, to claim that outdated rides few people use anymore adds more to your quality of life than an art exhibit is ludicrous. In the end, I doubt you have ridden one of those rides in 30 years, and I doubt you'll use the playground you so wanted, or go to the art exhibit. So really, other than whining about a local artist who is massively successful, what's your point?

"As for the issue of extending the Fun Forest lease short term, until construction starts on the Ye Olde Glass Shoppe, first we're told it's all about the money, and then they can suddenly afford to turn away a $250,000 check."

So, to build a complete new building with new plumbing, wiring, etc, you're contending nothing needs to be done to that space prior to construction?

"the sham public process they put us through, when everybody knew this decision was finalized well before it was announced. "

bullshit. I know for a fact this is a bullshit statement Goldy. You totally lack an credibility when making statements you obviously know nothing about. Or you're just again spreading things you know are not true. McGinn asked for a recommendation from the C21, and he got a very thorough well reasoned one, did you read it? C'mon now.

Back to the subject of your original post - it's biased and shoddy.Your defense of it is more of the same.
Good article Goldy. Everybody at Seattle Center knows that Chihuly/ Wright family needs to start construction and it has already been decided so that is the reason for the boot. Also bigger money speaks but I really do think Chihuly won't bring in the revenue they are stating.

It appears McGinn has made his decision and the City Councils role is to listen to Nellums and not the public.

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.