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Celebration planned for first-ever city hall

The city of Snoqualmie is all set to celebrate the start of construction on its new city hall building.

The party, planned for 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 23, coincides with ground-breaking for the very first city hall that Snoqualmie has ever built, at 38624 S.E. River St. on the corner of River Street and Maple Avenue.

All the Snoqualmie city halls that have come before were originally built with other purposes in mind. The building that city hall is in now was once a credit union, hence the big bank vault inside.

"It's going to be a beautiful building," said Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson, who will lead a groundbreaking ceremony with council members, City Administrator Bob Larson, city planning, public works, and building department directors, and representatives of Bird Construction and Gensler Architects.

The new city hall will house council chambers, and is designed to create a public space for civic gatherings.

Construction is estimated to take approximately eight months. City employees plan to occupy the new offices in early 2009.

While the cost to build the new hall came in over budget, and council approval proved to be a tough decision, ultimately, "it's going to do a lot of good things," Larson said.

The new city hall will make room for employees who are currently located in five separate buildings - and is meant to make city business more efficient. By bringing together staff from different buildings, the city can sell three different properties downtown, opening up real estate and bringing in revenue.

"It's absolutely needed for the efficiency of city government," said councilmember Charles Peterson.

"One stop shopping for people that need the city hall," Peterson said. "You'll have everything on one building.

"In the long run, it'll save us money," he added.

"It's very important to keep the city hall downtown," Peterson said. "It shows a real commitment to the original part of the town, where the city has always been."

"It signifies that the city is putting its money where its mouth is," Larson said.

More information about the Snoqualmie city hall project and building sketches are available on the city of Snoqualmie Web site at www.ci.snoqualmie.wa.us.

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