Mercer Island Center for the Arts Passes Key Environmental Milestone

Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) is pleased to announce a major milestone in its plan to build an arts center on Mercer Island. The City of Mercer Island has issued a mitigated determination of non-significance (MDNS) for MICA’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) application. Furthermore, the city has opted to phase this determination into various parts as they review the zoning code text amendment, agreement to lease, and other land use actions. SEPA is the review process designed to provide a comprehensive review of a building proposal and requires the identification and evaluation of possible environmental impacts to all elements of the proposed development and construction. By issuing an MDNS, the City of Mercer Island has affirmed that MICA has demonstrated the ability to mitigate any potential environmental impact during the development and construction of the facility as currently designed. This process required months of collaboration between the City staff and MICA, during which MICA consulted with numerous environmental experts and responded to community feedback. This positive determination is a significant accomplishment to celebrate for the arts center project. 

The lengthy SEPA process was led by MICA board member, Bruce Lorig. Lorig, a longtime island resident and founder of Lorig Associates has over 40 years of real estate development experience. Lorig says “it’s been a long journey for the building team with ups and downs. We stayed transparent throughout and true to the public process.”  MICA would also like to thank the city staff leads: Robin Proebsting, Evan Maxim, and Scott Greenberg for their professionalism and commitment to the best interests of the island. Lastly, we would like to thank and invite all Mercer Islanders for their continued support. 

Though this is a huge milestone, a significant amount of work remains ahead to secure zoning, permits and other approvals necessary to move the project forward. While this may be frustrating for the island and our supporters, MICA’s passion and commitment to the project remains unwavering. With the City Council election right around the corner, we encourage all supporters of an arts center to make your voice heard. Ask all council members and candidates about their stance on MICA and let them know yours. This email directs to all Council Members Council@mercergov.org. Once a lease has been signed, the project can move forward with permitting and a larger capital campaign. To review the SEPA application and read the city’s press release regarding the determination please visit www.mercergov.org/mica. MICA invites the public to inquire about the project, give input, and support the arts center. Our doors are always open. 

Mercer Island Center for the Arts is a nonprofit community venture led by a board of directors of 17 Mercer Island residents, working closely with the city, partner arts organizations, and individual community members to create the future Center for the Arts on Mercer Island. MICA has created several resources to provide detailed information and updates on the conception and planning for the Center for the Arts. Answers to frequently asked questions are located at MercerIslandArts.org/FAQ. Questions can also be emailed to askMICA@MercerIslandArts.org or visit the MICA office at 7710 SE 29th St.

Don’t forget to visit the MICA Arts Calendar to receive up-to-date information about arts events happening on the island http://calendar.mercerislandarts.org/.