The Snoqualmie City Council passed the 2020-2025 Non-Utilities Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) on Aug. 26, which includes $10 million for expanding the city’s community center.
In total, the CIP includes $48.94 million in expenditures spread across 27 capital programs or projects. More than $17.8 million of the proposed projects and programs rely on grants or other outside contributions.
“I’m very pleased with the approval of the Non-Utilities Capital Improvement Plan, which focuses on the maintenance and improvement of city facilities, parks and transportation needs,” Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson said. “This plan is the result of ongoing work by city staff and those who have served on the city council or a commission, past or present. This will allow us to continuously attend to the projects and programs that support and serve our residents, businesses and visitors to Snoqualmie.”
The 56-page plan document provides context and budget information for each of the 27 proposed items.
Some $24 million will go to transportation projects (including $11 million to preservation of currently-built assets), another $11 million to parks projects and $13 million to two facilities projects — the City Hall annex project and the community center expansion project.
Other significant facility and park projects include the Riverwalk project($3.5 million), Sandy Cove Park improvement project($1.37 million), and also the all-inclusive playground project($1.17 million), which will replace older playground equipment at Centennial Park with new equipment designed for children of all abilities in 2022.
The Riverwalk project will be mostly funded through grants, with phase one beginning in 2020 and phase two launching in 2022. The city will produce one mile of trail from the intersection of state Route 202 and Snoqualmie Parkway to Sandy Cove Park. That will also include the installation of boardwalks and wetland crossings as well as the restoration of riverside native vegetation.
Some of the CIP’s larger programs relating to preservation of existing assets include the community ampitheater and sprayground project($908,245), playgrounds replacement program($2.19 million), trails replacement program($1.17 million), sport courts replacement program($157,388), parks parking lot resurfacing program($268,654), street resurfacing program($4.38 million), sidewalk replacement program($2.12 million), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) program($234,949).
Funds for significant CIP transportation projects include the downtown pedestrian signals project($1.04 million), Snoqualmie Parkway rehabilitation project($6.38 million), Kimball Creek box culverts project($2.67 million), and the state Route 202 and Meadowbrook Way channelization project($1.4 million). Those projects relate to safety needs as well as the anticipated impact of the Interstate 90 and state Route 18 interchange project funded by the Washington State Department of Transportation set for 2023.
A city staff report says that the city intends to use, “a mix of funding sources such as current cash balances, taxes, grants and other increases,” to pay for the expenditures in the non-utility CIP.
“Given a concerted effort to apply sustainable financial planning principals, the non-utilities section of the 2020-2025 CIP will concurrently invest in the preservation and enhancement of critical infrastructure and maintain the financial health of Snoqualmie,” the report states.
The report explains that, for cities like Snoqualmie, the Washington State Growth Management Act, Chapter 36.70 RCW, mandates the adoption of a 20-year Comprehensive Plan with a capital facilities element that documents how the local government intends to provide necessary facilities to serve the expected level of employment and population. That facilities element must include a six-year financial plan, updated biennially, forecasting available revenues for capital programs and projects.
Snoqualmie’s CIP was adopted in the capital facilities element of Snoqualmie’s comprehensive plan, “Snoqualmie 2032.”
The CIP only states the city’s intentions. It doesn’t authorize any of the projects on the list to move ahead without individual agenda bills for each item.
There was no public comment given at the Aug. 26 meeting regarding the CIP as a whole, which passed 5-2. Peggy Shepard and Matthew Laase dissented. However, there was some community feedback given regarding the community center specifically.
Willaim Donaldson, a resident running for city council in the Novemember General Election (and who now brings his own camera crew with him to produce videos of his council meeting speeches) addressed the council regarding the community center proposal, which had been presented at an Aug. 12 meeting.
“At the present time you are committed to a vast and aggressive investment of a community center remodel when I feel that we have not as a community fully explored our options,” Donaldson said.
He suggested breaking the currently proposed plan into phases and also partnering with North Bend and neighboring communities.
“We do not have to do this alone,” he said.
The city’s proposed expansion plan includes the addition of a larger lap pool and increasing the building size from its current 13,000 square feet to about 37,000 or 40,000 square feet, depending on features. City officials hope to begin construction in 2021, which will cost between $12.5 million and $16 million.
The building is owned by the city but operated by the YMCA, which will seek state grants to pay for the remaining cost after the city’s $10 million investment.
Mayor Matt Larson is currently tasked by the city council to reach out to partners to discuss funding and feature options. That includes the possibility of working with the Snoqualmie Valley School District, King County and the Si View Metropolitan Park District.
Snoqualmie also will receive about $160,000 annually from the countywide parks levy Proposition 1, approved by King County voters on Aug. 6. The parks levy puts $44 million specifically toward aquatics programs. That money could potentially be used toward the community center.
An EMC Research July telephone survey asked 300 residents what they thought of the CIP. The survey determined that most folks are pleased with the city’s parks system but want to expand the community center and have more children’s activities. Nearly half of those surveyed want to prioritize the addition of a lap pool.
Residents have previously suggested partnering with the Si View Metro Parks District to construct a bigger regional aquatics center near North Bend rather than build a lap pool in Snoqualmie. In the survey, 48 percent supported partnering with North Bend and Si View Metro Parks on a larger regional aquatics center instead of a lap pool in Snoqualmie, and 51 percent were opposed to the idea.