The Art Gallery of SnoValley has operated as Snoqualmie’s interim Visitor Information Center since May 2017. Evan Pappas/staff photo

The Art Gallery of SnoValley has operated as Snoqualmie’s interim Visitor Information Center since May 2017. Evan Pappas/staff photo

Art Gallery of SnoValley receives funding for visitor information services in 2019

Snoqualmie city council approved funding for the art gallery to provide tourism services this summer

The city of Snoqualmie will once again feature a visitor’s center this year thanks to funding granted by the city council. The city also will begin work on developing its tourism plan by the end of the year.

On March 11, the Snoqualmie City Council approved $11,412 in funding for the Art Gallery of SnoValley to continue its operations as an interim Visitor’s Information Center (VIC). The art gallery has served as the city’s physical location for tourism information since 2017.

The Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce operated the previous VIC before the building was sold to a local business. Since then, the art gallery has applied for the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) funds to operate tourism and way-finding services.

The approval of funding came after two delays by the city council. When first approving the LTAC funding requests in October 2018, the city declined to grant funding to the art gallery for VIC services due to questions surrounding and the need to have a physical location to provide the services, as well as developing the city’s long-term tourism plan. The funding request went back to the Community Development Committee (CDC) for further discussion.

The council was faced with the funding request again in January when it came back to the council. They did not approve it then, delaying discussion on the topic until staff could present a timeline detailing how long development of an updated city tourism plan could take.

At the March 11 meeting, Councilmember Jim Mayhew updated the rest of the council on the discussions held by the CDC. While there isn’t any budget allocated to implement elements of a tourism plan in 2019, there is some funding for staff to create a plan.

“A key point is that there are several fairly recent studies as well as the city’s own comprehensive plan, that includes quite a bit of information on most aspects that would go into a tourist plan,” Mayhew said. “The timeline, therefore, is focused on having the council… and administration spend most of 2019 going over that existing information available, distilling it into a set of priorities and projects that would then be a plan we could then look to fund and implement in 2020.”

Community development director Mark Hofman said work would be done in two phases. The first phase is a re-review of the current programs and policies in place from May to July. Staff will break down what tourism projects are underway, what has been accomplished, and what is unfinished.

The second phase, expected in the fall of 2019, would use the budgeted money for specialized external assistance to develop the plan for 2020.

With a timeline presented to the council, Mayhew requested the approval of the art gallery’s funding request for 2019.

The $11,412 request was approved in a 5-2 vote, with councilmembers Katherine Ross and Peggy Shepard voting against the request. Ross said she voted against the funding because she believes the money could be used on a project under development by the chamber of commerce.

The chamber is working on electronic, way-finding kiosks as part of its tourism plan. Ross said investing in the chamber project would be more beneficial than the visitor’s center because more people use them to access information.

“(The art gallery is) stating they may only get 6,700 visitors in there, and I don’t think that represents what we receive at the train depot every summer, which is about 120,000 people or what we see at the falls which is about 2 million people,” she said. “So I’m not sure that funding this visitors center makes sense to us. I think that $11,000 could be used perhaps on these kiosks that the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber is trying to install.”

Hofman said the city is monitoring the chamber program, but are not directly involved. Further observation of the success of the kiosks will inform the city’s view on the future of tourism information services.”

“Are we going to be a mobile-phone oriented visitor center, or are we going to have some presence of brick and mortar like we had previously,” Hofman said. “What this LTAC request does is gives us time to study all that and get those programs in place.”

The Art Gallery of SnoValley will run its visitor information center services from Memorial Day, May 27, to Labor Day, Sept. 2, 2019.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

For Gary Schwartz, a Valley-based author, the pandemic hasn’t changed his writing style or schedule, but he’s finding it harder to muse ideas. He enjoys writing young adult fiction, and has published one book, "The King of Average." File photo
Penning through the pandemic

Local authors are finding ways to adapt to an unpredictable world.

North Bend could have its own marijuana store soon.
North Bend approved pot shop development agreement

The council voted to approve the agreement on Dec. 1.

Ryan Hartwell (Fred) hugs Tim Platt (Scrooge) in the final scene of VCS’s production of “A Christmas Carol” in 2019. File photo
‘A Christmas Carol’ returns Dec. 5

Valley Center Stage will be performing its rendition of “A Christmas Carol”… Continue reading

A King County Sheriff’s Office photo of the crawlspace in which Urbano Velazquez was hiding when a K-9 unit was used. Sound Publishing file photo
King County settles $2 million dog bite lawsuit

The county agreed to pay $100,000 after being sued after a 2016 K-9 unit arrest.

Contributed by the Society for Conservation Biology 
A map showing the locations where plants have gone extinct in the U.S. and Canada since European settlers arrived.
Study: 65 plant species have gone extinct in U.S., Canada

More than 65 species of plants have gone extinct in the U.S.… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Regency North Bend outbreak leaves four dead

A large outbreak of COVID-19 at Regency North Bend, a senior living… Continue reading

North Bend City Hall. Courtesy of
North Bend passes on property tax increase

The North Bend City Council narrowly voted not to increase the amount… Continue reading

David Olson. Contributed photo
The Valley loses one of its biggest hearts

David Olson died in early November, but his legacy of dedicated community service lives on.

Sage Viniconis is a career performing artist in King County who’s been out of work and seeking creative outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy photo/Sage Viniconis
Puget Sound artists adapt creativity, and business sense, to pandemic

Artists Sunday is an online directory that connects artists across the county, state and nation.

Most Read