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Snoqualmie discusses plans to keep using historic city hall

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SNOQUALMIE - With its historic city hall renovation nearing completion and a new fire station set to be built, the city of Snoqualmie is preparing to move some of its departments into new digs.

At its April 26 meeting, the City Council discussed what to do with the historic city hall and existing fire station. Since the city's administration building on Railroad Avenue is bursting at the seams and its Parks Department is stepping on the toes of other departments at its public works building location, the Council suggested utilizing new space that will be opening up in the coming months. Once it is renovated, the historic city hall could be home to the Planning Department and the present fire station could be home to the Parks Department.

The historic city hall, located at the intersection of Falls Avenue and River Street, has been closed ever since it sustained damage in the Nisqually Earthquake on Feb. 28, 2001. The building started out as a bank in 1923, but was later donated to Snoqualmie to be used as a city hall in 1976. An addition on the back of the building added in the 1940s acted as an office for the mayor.

It was being used for City Council and Planning Commission meetings as well as for storage when it was damaged in the earthquake. Damage to the structure was so severe it had to be closed up, but the building was insured so repairs were able to be funded.

Since then, the city has mulled over options for the building as well as the future of the city's fire station on River Street.

Potential uses of the station have been uncertain since the city approved bonds to build a new one on Snoqualmie Parkway.

Councilman Matt Larson suggested at the meeting that both structures could be used in the future. The Planning Department in the historic city hall would alleviate a space problem at its present location in the city administration building and moving the Parks Department to the existing fire station would allow it to keep more of its equipment indoors.

Councilman Greg Fullington said moving the departments makes good fiscal sense, at least in the short term. Although the city plans to build a new city hall next to the new fire station on Snoqualmie Parkway, the funds for that are not yet secure and the building would take at least two years to build from planning to completion.

Larson would like to see more analysis done on the long-term fiscal impacts of moving the departments. He said the Planning Department would ideally be in the same facility as the Building Department, which is presently located in the Public Works Building off Tokul Road, and that the city is ultimately looking for a new place to hold its meetings.

"Eventually we will want a city hall with council chambers," Larson said.

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