Snoqualmie moves ahead with Point Park plans

SNOQUALMIE - The city of Snoqualmie is moving forward with Snoqualmie Point Park's development.

The eight-acre site located at the end of Winery Road near Exit 27 will maintain its natural state, but will feature improved parking, restrooms, increased landscaping, a viewing area and more, said Al Frank, director of parks and recreation for the city.

Plans are to break ground in April of 2006 for the renovations with the assistance of the nonprofit organization Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. Frank said estimates indicate that the park could be closed to the public for about a year before the work is complete.

The main area of development is scheduled to happen where the picnic tables currently sit, while the stage area is expected to remain accessible throughout construction.

The area will remain a "passive park" without playgrounds or athletic fields.

There are no plans for cutting trees.

"[The development] is pretty much a done deal," Frank said, adding that the City Council has already approved the project and grant funding.

Currently the park is maintained financially through rental fees for events such as weddings and small concerts, as well as through the city's general fund.

Frank noted that finances acquired from renting the area should be expected to increase once the park developments are finished as increased access and use of the area would most likely bring in more money.

However, there are no plans for increased advertising or adding any freeway signs.

"We want to keep it as local as possible," he said.

Because the revised park area will increase traffic, Frank said the parks department is looking into partnering with the Snoqualmie Tribe to increase police coverage, since the tribe is currently planning to build a casino nearby.

The former 40-acre site of the Snoqualmie Winery was owned by the city of Snoqualmie and leased to the winery until the winery burned down in 1999.

Afterward, the winery relocated and the city sold 32 acres to the forest service, keeping the remaining eight acres for a park.

Both parties agreed that the land would not be developed past its natural state.

"Most of the area will be for looking at the view and to rent it out," Frank said. "There's not really amenities that are going in there."

The development plans only include the acreage owned by the city. As of this time, the forest service has no plans to develop its land.

Once a master plan for a park was developed, Mountain to Sound helped to acquire the funding for the first phase of the park: a parking lot with about 21 spaces, a viewing area and restrooms.

Additional development will include updating the stage and adding terraced seating (less than 500 seats), relandscaping the hillside, potentially adding some trails, increasing the picnic area and adding a shelter and meadow, along with irrigation.

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