Tollgate Farm improvements underway

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NORTH BEND - A stir of activity has been seen lately out at the historic Tollgate Farm, but what is to become of the city-owned property is still to be determined.

The city purchased the 410-acre farm in 2001 with the help of the Trust for Public Land and by issuing $1.6 million in councilmanic - or council-only approved - bonds in an effort to preserve the site from development.

According to North Bend Special Projects Coordinator Sara Barry, before the city could design an overall vision for the site, it had to ensure there would be a structure on the site for people to enjoy.

"If there has always been a priority, it's been the restoration of the farmhouse," said Barry.

The farmhouse, estimated to be about 100 years old, had been rotting away, she explained. Repairs have recently been made to ensure its stability, she said, and the city is in the process of awarding a contract to re-roof the structure. In 2000, a barn on the site collapsed due to old age.

The city has received $18,000 in King County Office of Cultural Resources restoration grants to help fund the new $22,000 roof, Barry said.

Barry said later this year the city will begin the process of creating a master plan for the site. What is certain about the process, Barry said, is that it will be headed by the city's Parks Commission. It will be the process, which will include public input, that will determine what Tollgate Farm's future will hold.

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Valley Record

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