Snoqualmie shares feedback on Community Center expansion

The addition of a pool and a swimming lesson program are among top priorities.

In anticipation of a July 6 Parks and Public Works Committee meeting, city officials released a report on the early proposed plans for expanding the Snoqualmie Community Center as well as some community feedback the city received regarding those plans.

After several failed ballot measures that were intended to fund the construction of a community center with a pool in Snoqualmie, a funding partnership between the city, the YMCA and tribal mitigation funds helped construct a 13,000-square-foot community center owned by the city, but operated by the YMCA.

According to the city’s report, when the Community Center opened in January 2011, it soon had one of the YMCA’s highest membership saturation rates in the country, with approximately 40 percent of residents holding memberships.

With a growing city population, high membership saturation rate, and limited building space, the YMCA began facing programming and space challenges. In 2017, the YMCA began utilizing community surveys to provide data regarding the scope of opportunities and challenges for growth. The survey would allow for better informed YMCA decisions regarding the future of the Snoqualmie YMCA and how to improve the facilities and services for existing members as well as other Snoqualmie Valley residents.

In 2018, member survey results noted the top two reasons for being “less than very satisfied” with the Snoqualmie Valley YMCA were that there was no pool at the Community Center and that the facility was too small.

The survey noted 74 percent of respondents thought the location was very or somewhat convenient. Respondents were also asked how likely they were to support a tax increase to pay for a community center expansion. Forty-four percent of respondents said they definitely or probably would support a $50 annual household tax increase; 53 percent said they would definitely or probably support a $35 annual tax increase; 61 percent said they would definitely or probably support a $25 annual tax increase.

When asked about their level of support for using city funds for an expansion if there was no tax increase and no decrease in other city services, 64 percent said they would definitely or probably support.

In the summer 2019, the city conducted a random sample survey in which over 70 percent of respondents supported the expansion of the Community Center, with a lap pool for swimming lessons noted as the top priority.

According to the report, the Community Center expansion project contained in the 2023-28 Capital Improvement Plan would expand the facility by about 24,000 square feet. It would include additional building space for non-aquatic programming that would be shaped by community feedback, as well as increased multi-purpose and fitness space, improved locker rooms, and additional community meeting space.

The expansion would also include a 6-lane lap pool that could host swimming lessons, competitions, and open swim times, as well as an outdoor splash pad.

“We continue to explore a funding model where residents would not incur new property taxes,” read the city’s report. “The current cost estimate, $29.8 million, is 2023 dollars and reflects inflation of approximately 30% compared to 2019 estimates. Funding sources include sales tax, REET, state funding and grants, county grants, and councilmanic bond issuance.”