Retail center signs tenants

SNOQUALMIE - Five businesses have signed leases to occupy a new building currently under construction in the neighborhood retail center on Snoqualmie Ridge, officials said at last week's City Council meeting.

The Key Bank building, which will be located at the corner of Center Boulevard and Snoqualmie Parkway, will have a total of eight tenants, with one of them being Key Bank. David Dorothy, director of commercial development for Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Co., said as of last Monday, Andre's Cleaners, Mail Boxes Etc., Ichiban Teriyaki and Snoqualmie Florist and Gifts have all agreed to individually negotiated lease agreements.

Dorothy said the remaining leases under negotiation include those for a sandwich shop, an ice cream parlor and a coffee shop.

The Key Bank building is the first to begin construction in the neighborhood retail center - a three-block area along Center Boulevard that was designed to be pedestrian friendly and reflect Snoqualmie's history.

Also at the Sept. 24 meeting, Councilwoman Marcia Korich asked if the council's Finance and Administrative Services Committee could explore the possibility of increasing the mayor's pay or benefits or making the position a full-time job, an idea that drew heated protests from Councilwoman Cathy Reed and Matt Larson, who's running against incumbent Colleen Johnson in the Nov. 6 election.

Korich said as the city has grown, so have the mayor's responsibilities, and the $1,000 a month Mayor Fuzzy Fletcher currently receives may not adequately reflect those responsibilities.

"I think the city is growing," she said. "I think Fuzzy has done an excellent job, but it takes a lot of time."

Reed and Larson said the timing of Korich's suggestion was improper, with Reed adding that any change to the mayor's position should have been considered earlier this year. Fletcher is running unopposed as he seeks to be elected to a second term, and Reed said increasing the mayor's pay or making it a full-time position might have attracted candidates to run against Fletcher.

"It should have been done before the [election] filing period," Reed said.

Fletcher said the idea of expanding the mayor's position had been discussed two years ago. Then, he said, wasn't the right time for the idea, and he still feels that way now. He also acknowledged concerns about the timing of the request.

"It doesn't appear to look good," he said of the proposal, adding that he doesn't want a pay increase.

"I'm quite happy doing my job with the money I'm making now. And I'm quite willing to do it for another four years with a smile on my face," he said.

"I don't want the money. I can refuse to accept it."

The City Council voted 4-1 in favor of handing the idea to the Finance and Administrative Services Committee, with Reed casting the lone vote against it. Councilman Dick Kirby said the possibility of increasing the mayor's pay or making it a full-time position fits with recent discussions about expanding the City Council from five members to seven to reflect the city's growing population.

In other business, the City Council:

* Voted to have the Public Safety Committee consider a hate-crimes proclamation following the Sept. 11 attacks. Reed said people are being unfairly targeted by other Americans because of their race, culture or religion, and she would like the city to send a message of tolerance.

"I think it's an important message that we need to make to our community, that we stand for all members of our community," she said.

* Approved spending $95,000 to remove about 2,500 tons of contaminated soil from the former site of the public works building.

* Approved spending $136,097.92 to buy a street sweeper from Ben-Ko-Matic.

There will also be an open house Oct. 6 at the Snoqualmie Department of Public Safety-Fire Division building in downtown Snoqualmie to coincide with Fire Prevention Week.

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