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Dori: Why can’t Seattle Aquarium provide its own $34M for shark tank?

The Seattle Aquarium on Elliott Bay. (MyNorthwest photo)

The Seattle Aquarium is going forward for its plans for a shark tank, and they want you and me to pay for it.

They are going to put 6-foot-long sharks and 6-foot-wide stingrays native to the South Pacific inside this $325,000 tank.

How much will that cost you and me? It’s $34 million. The rest will be raised privately.

We have all kinds of problems in this city. We are told we don’t have enough jail space to lock up the criminals. We are told that we don’t have enough mental health facilities to help everyone in need of them. We are told that we don’t have enough money to provide drug and alcohol treatment to the people on the streets. We are told that we don’t have the money to hire the hundreds of cops we need.

Dori: Top of Seattle’s priority list is new shark tank

But we have $34 million for a shark tank? Is that really our priority in this city?

Don’t get me wrong, I like the aquarium. My wife and I took our kids to the aquarium when they were younger. I could watch the jellyfish display for ages. It’s fascinating.

But that does not mean I think taxpayers should be on the hook for over $30 million. They did a $40 million expansion 10 years ago, and now they say they need another $113 million, $34 million of which would come from taxpayers.

If you recall, when our news partners at KIRO 7 TV reported on this a year ago, the aquarium told them that their facility needs an expansion because it has gotten so busy.

Okay … so if you are so popular, how are you not self-sufficient — like every other business in the private sector that has to get by? When you are a quasi-government entity, it is so easy to just say, “We want the taxpayers to pay for this.”

Aquariums are really cool. They are a good family destination. But if they are that popular, they should be able to be self-sufficient. Do you think $34 million is a good expenditure when we don’t have the money to help people in our city?

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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