The small farm house that sits facing S.R. 202 between Snoqualmie and North Bend on Tollgate Farm Park is one of Si View Metropolitan Park District’s latest restoration projects. Having recently completed a full exterior renovation on the building, the park district is planning an interior renovation within the next two years.
Minna Rudd, recreation manager at Si View, said the earliest traceable date for the farmhouse is 1904, when it first appeared on county records. In 2001, the city of North Bend and King County purchased Tollgate Park, the land the farmhouse sits on, for use as a recreation space.
In 2009, North Bend and the park district entered an inter-local agreement to develop the park property.
“The city is still the owner of the property, but Si View is responsible for developing the park, maintaining it, programming it, anything and everything that comes with it,” Rudd said.
With a $6.7 million bond approved by voters in 2010, the park district began working on phase one of its Tollgate Park development plan, which included a parking lot, playgrounds and restrooms. Next up on the list was addressing the farmhouse which, apart from having some structural problems addressed when North Bend purchased the land, had remained untouched for many years.
In July 2016, the park district received a $150,000 grant to restore the exterior of the farmhouse from 4Culture’s Saving Landmarks program.
“We were fortunate enough to be selected as one of the recipients of the grant for that. The $150,000 really helped us get the exterior taken care of,” Rudd said. “So it’s now structurally sound, there are seismic upgrades that have been done, it has windows, siding, trim, all of that has been done.”
The district is now preparing to continue the project and turn it into a community space. Work has begun on an agriculture feasibility study on the property to determine what kind of opportunities the house, and the property itself, have to bring back agriculture to the property.
One of the ideas included use of the Tollgate Park property for a small community-supported farm and a small farm store in one of the house’s rooms, Rudd explained.
But before then, more renovation work needs to be done. A development that will help facilitate that work is the district’s being chosen as one of the 35 recipients of the Washington State Historical Society’s Heritage Capital Projects fund. Si View Metro Park District was awarded a tentative $279,000 for the interior renovations from the program, Rudd said.
The funding is tentative, because funding for the entire program has not yet been finalized in the state 2017-2019 budget.
“The catch is the entire program is not funded in the current budget proposal. So what’s happening at the Legislature now is as they are building the budget, we have been advocating for that program so it will be fully funded, not just our project, but all 35 of them would be funded,” she said. “We are somewhat optimistic it will get funded in the budget. If it does not then we will search for an alternative. In the meantime we have done a feasibility study and a conceptual design, so we haven’t been sitting idle. We are ready to move forward if the funds come through… with the mandate for funding education, it is pulling from various different state funds, so it has an impact on many different programs.”
If the Heritage Capital Projects Fund does not receive the full funding in the budget, Rudd said the district is ready to look for alternate funding opportunities.
“Should we look for an alternate route we will seek out grant funding, whether it’s through 4Culture, there are other avenues as well, we will need to work with those timelines and deadlines,” she said.