One of the many job benefits of being publisher of a small weekly newspaper is that people will tell you what they think on a constant basis.
The chairs in my office have held many Valley people through in-depth discussions about things good, and bad, with our community. Many a brainstorm has occurred in the publisher’s office of the Valley Record, admittedly not from the publisher but from other Valley residents.
People feel it is a good place, I guess, to let their feelings be known and I always look forward to those conversations. They are a way of re-energizing the batteries, so to speak; to look at things in a different light. It seems prudent to share a few of them here.
One such planner is a good friend who spent many years with Weyerhaeuser. He is passionate about the former mill site and illustrates many benefits for whatever is planned there. His plans for the site include the creation of a road, more north on the property, that ties into Highland Drive in some way. (That is the road that runs up the hill behind the mill site.)
He then suggests eliminating the mill pond road, which, in many cases, is an impediment both ways for water. In addition to this he suggests creating a control causeway, much the same as is there now, to control water flows out of the mill pond. His suggestion is to also have the city of Snoqualmie take over the land around the mill pond and create a park of some kind. This may fit into any plans to save the former powerhouse and smoke stack from the mill site.
The former mill site needs to create livable wage jobs for the Valley. We need additional jobs to allow people to work and live here. Why should everyone have to commute to the greater Eastside when there could be opportunities here?
The mill site will require some type of water retention method, since most of it is in the floodway and floodplain, and changing it from anything other than wood products manufacturing will require that it be annexed into the city.
If nothing else, the city should have a plan for what it would like to see done on the mill site, so that any future developer has some idea of the direction the community wants to go.
I know this person has approached Weyerhaeuser and the city with his thoughts without much fanfare. Maybe it’s time we listen to someone who has in-depth knowledge about the property and a genuine concern for the community.
Another person that frequents my office has lived here pretty much his whole life. Considering that he is over the age of 80, that is a significant amount of time. I must also say that when you look at this person, you would have no idea he has been around that many years. In fact, he is more active than many guys half his age.
This person is Neil Dubey, and few could argue Neil’s passion for the community. He is a no-nonsense kind of guy who has always made an honest living through hard work and wants others to have the same opportunity. He has held many jobs over his lifetime and because of his work ethic, has been successful at all.
Neil wants to see downtown Snoqualmie prosper. He genuinely loves the town as is evident when he talks about what he would like to see and he gets a tad bit choked up. His plan is to create a place for travelers to stay while they visit the community. As shown by the city’s economic development plan, the longer a person stays in town, the more money they spend. An added benefit for travelers is they come, spend their money, then leave.
Many people spend their traveling time in recreational vehicle sor RVs. One of the key things to bringing those people to our community – along with their dollars – is providing a location for them to park, hookup and spend the night. Neil has a vision for providing those accommodations.
His desire is to create a location near downtown so that those folks can enjoy the historic city and also walk to the Falls. Neil will go so far as to put his money where his mouth is and help fund the development of such a location near downtown. The parcel he has in mind for an RV park is the city-owned property across from the Snoqualmie Ridge Parkway at the intersection of state Route 202. Landscaping buffers could be created to reduce the view of the park from the road as well as protect views of the Falls.
It’s a great idea and based on what restrictions there might be on the property, it’s a great location. I would urge the mayor and council to create a small task force to help Neil see his plan come to fruition. After all, it is in the best interest of the city.
There are some great ideas in the community but for some reason the ideas tend to fall on deaf ears. For some reason, government, at all levels, finds it easier to say why something can’t be done then take the time to figure out how to do it.
I think, as do many, that it’s time for our cities to figure out how to do it and help those that say we can’t find other employment.