Snoqualmie still considering community center

Letter to the Editor

In this paper last week there was great focus on the Snoqualmie City Council constructing a community center bond ordinance even when asked to partner with the North Bend Metropolitan Parks District (MPD) on a regional aquatic center. It’s important to ask why instead of assuming the city of Snoqualmie doesn’t care.

Snoqualmie voted on a community center bond in 2002. The population was much smaller then and people were not ready to support the proposed facility.

The idea gained steam again in 2004 after a city services survey was sent to all households. It came back showing a strong desire for a community center.

The council then formed a Community Center Committee to study the possibility. The committee decided on a community center survey to see what citizens wanted, and would support financially. After much preparation, surveys were mailed this June to every Snoqualmie household. The survey had an excellent response rate and showed 60.8 percent of residents in favor of a center with a pool. Another 9 percent supported a center with no pool.

During the past two years, a regional facility was discussed with the North Bend MPD, but conversations never moved past the preliminary concept stage. Snoqualmie proceeded with its plans for two reasons: 1) Citizens have continually expressed their strong desire for a community center and, 2) construction costs are skyrocketing.

Once survey results were known, it was crunch time for the MPD. A majority of Snoqualmie’s population stated willingness to financially support a community center/pool. In response, the MPD presented its proposal for a regional facility to the council.

However, the regional facility proposal is still just a concept. There are no sites firmly selected, no money for construction or land and no firm choices for funding. The location and funding would likely be a political battle. The best-case scenario puts a regional pool out five years. Plus statistics show that larger competition-sized aquatic facilities lose money.

Snoqualmie residents stated their desire and the city listened. Snoqualmie wants to build a center before increased construction costs require asking voters for more money to build the same facility. The city proposes a leisure-sized pool with lap lanes because statistics show larger pools lose money.

Please know that the North Bend MPD is still invited to partner with Snoqualmie. The bond ordinance will be constructed so that this can happen if the MPD can create a solid proposal.

The idea of a community center and pool helped bring many to Snoqualmie. Some have been waiting nine years. The survey results show a majority of residents are simply asking for what North Bend already has. Snoqualmie is finally close to making it happen.

Danna McCall

Snoqualmie Parks