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Rotary plans gateway park in Snoqualmie

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SNOQUALMIE - The city of Snoqualmie and the Snoqualmie Valley Rotary Club are working together to build a park that would act as a gateway to historic Snoqualmie.

As part of the national centennial celebration for Rotary International next year, the Snoqualmie Valley Rotary Club plans to develop a park on the land located at the southeast corner of the State Route 202 and Snoqualmie Parkway intersection.

"Once it's done, it could be one of the most popular parks in the city," said Snoqualmie Valley Rotary Club President Charlotte Jacobs.

The land, most of which is owned by the city, had been preserved from development as part of the Snoqualmie Preservation Initiative.

Plans call for a design that will bring together several organizations in the area, including the city of Snoqualmie, the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Northwest Railway Museum and the Snoqualmie Valley Venturing Crew, which uses the temporary shelter presently at the site for its Christmas tree sale every holiday season.

A trailhead to the Fisher Creek Trail will be located at the site with hopes of eventually connecting it with the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.

The land still could be used for the tree sale, and the whole area will have landscaping added to hide the existing railroad control box. Trees and shrubs will be planted at the site, which will have parking for cars and RVs, a bathroom and a small amphitheater.

The Northwest Railway Museum will display a restored engine at the site and will also extend a track westward onto the property. At the end of the track, the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce plans to set up a restored caboose as a visitor's center.

When plans for the park are approved, the Rotary will enter into an memorandum of understanding with Snoqualmie, which will maintain the park once its completed.

Funding for the park's construction is still being worked out by the Rotary, but Snoqualmie Parks Director Al Frank said the city would pay for the park's maintenance.

Jacobs said the project will be one of the highlights of Rotary's civic involvement in the Valley, which goes back to the 1970s. The Rotary has given money to numerous Valley service organizations and awards the largest single academic scholarship at Mount Si High School.

Plans for the project will go before the city's Parks Board this week and then before the City Council for approval. There are no set dates yet for when the project would break ground or be completed, but Rotary member Bill Whitacre said the Rotary would like to start construction this summer in hopes of the park being completed by the official Rotary centennial next February.

Ben Cape can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at ben.cape@valleyrecord.com.

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