LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Aviary is important to community

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I attended the City Council Sept. 20 budget work-up session out of concern for the library. I left the meeting very concerned about the possibility that a .6 FTEE budget cut may terminate the Aviary program at Pioneer Park. I voiced my concern about the Aviary creatures and was told arrangements have been made to relocate them.

The Aviary is an educational highlight adding greatly to the value of a visit to our lovely Pioneer Park. Many, many people of all ages visit the Aviary: parents with young children, older children, walkers and runners, out of town visitors including tourists, older folks on a stroll, a park neighbor who regularly counts the turtles sunning on the island shore as the birds go about their business. If attendance statistics were kept I believe the numbers would rival those of local sports teams.

In the time of growing urbanization, many people have little opportunity to see and appreciate the presence and loveliness of nature's creatures. The animals in the Aviary at Pioneer Park -- the birds, the turtles, the fish -- provide a local and easily accessible opportunity for people to see and appreciate the beauty and diversity of nature.

I realize finances are difficult and a balanced budget is necessary. The other departments facing budget cuts will continue. In my opinion it would be a shame for our community to lose the presence of the Aviary permanently to balance the budget. If you have ideas to help the Aviary please contact your Council member or the city manager now.

Donna Johannesson
Walla Walla

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