Fall City Community Association targets community center feasibility

On Jan. 16, a meeting will be held between the Fall City Community Association (FCCA) and King County to discuss who will manage the feasibility study.

In January 2023, the Valley Record covered the approved $500,000 grant from the King County 2023-2025 Biennial Budget. This grant was earmarked for a feasibility study to explore the potential of a Fall City community center.

The grant came after a November letter to the King County Department of Local Services, where members of the subarea committee wrote that Fall City would benefit from additional gathering spaces.

However, almost a year later, King County Councilmember Sarah Perry cautioned: “We are ready if they want [the grant], otherwise we need to use it for other things. But we believe that Fall City does need a community center if they can figure out how it’s going to be run.”

On Jan. 16, a meeting will be held between the Fall City Community Association (FCCA) and King County to discuss who will manage the feasibility study — the first necessary step to construct or purchase a building for a community center.

Rachel Shepard, the president of the FCCA, said the feasibility study is comparable to a scoping exercise, which will ask: “What are the needs of the community center in terms of size, function and number of people it serves and accessibility?”

She said the study entails the basic requirements to outline what would best serve the community’s needs. Perry echoed the importance of the study, adding there are many components beyond physical land.

“[The study] will show all the different components, what you can and can’t do and where and why, critical areas and working with the tribes if land comes into that concern,” Perry said.

Another crucial aspect Perry has emphasizedis the significance of community engagement in discussions around the community center. She highlighted that community input is the only way the potential space can align with the comprehensive needs of the community.

While the study solidifies the practicality of the community center, Shepard said it is also a required in-between step to secure permanent funding for potential purchase, restoration or upkeep of the property.

Shepard added while the Masonic Lodge, Reign Church and the clubhouse at Two Rivers Golf Course are places the community members have expressed interest in, there has been no discussion between her and the owners of Reign Church or the clubhouse at Two Rivers Golf Course.

In the FCCA’s Dec. 5 meeting, the Masonic Lodge was named as a location of interest, but required more investigation.

To begin a formal site search, the county, local parks district and FCCA must first agree on who will run the feasibility study.

“The question is, are the different functions within Fall City prepared to and in a position to take on that challenge and that responsibility,” Perry said. “And if not, if they want the county to do that, is that something that we can feasibly do?”

In preparation for the Jan. 16 meeting, the FCCA has been actively seeking community members to participate or take the lead in the committee tasked with the development of the community center.

At the FCCA’s Dec. 5 meeting, Shepard called out for a lead, which FCCA member Mary Butler later offered to step up and guide the committee alongside Shepard.

Although the project has found a lead, Shepard said they would still appreciate people to join the committee who have some experience and passion for the project.