The Future: A vision of Snoqualmie

Letter to the Editor

There are three distinct districts in the city: Historic, the Falls and the Ridge. Each district is full of life, providing residential units, small-scale retail, businesses, parks and open space, traditional design, identifiable neighborhoods and community cohesion. These are contiguous to each other, providing the needed tax revenues that enable the city to pay for vital services and preserve the quality of life that makes Snoqualmie an attractive place to live.

The revitalized historic district enhances pedestrian friendliness, new business and traffic flow.

Traffic flows through the city center via State Route 202, Maple and Falls avenues, enhancing the pedestrian-friendly destination area. Storefronts are now seen along Falls and Maple avenues. Many long-existing businesses are still here and new ones have appeared, i.e., restaurants, brewery pub, bookstore, art gallery, etc.

The historic council chamber has been repaired from the earthquake damage and the inside is now a restaurant. The King County library has been moved to the Ridge and a new administration building, replacing the old fire station, highlights the downtown core. A police/fire sub-station is incorporated into the building’s design, and the green space alongside offers a rest area/information center to both tourists and residents. The historic railroad station has expanded and offers a museum downtown. A railway restoration facility operates at the North Bend border of the city.

Flooding is still an issue, however, the city co-exists with the river. The 205 Flood Project is completed and a conveyance channel was built through the Weyerhaeuser berm, bringing back the much needed floodwater storage area. Business and residential design standards were changed to be friendlier, and at the same time, responsive to flood impacts.

Heading toward the Falls district, picnic sites and trails along the river walk receive heavy use during our warmer days. Restored railroad cars invite visitors to visit downtown Snoqualmie, now that all rail cars waiting to be restored have been moved to the restoration area. Rail cars not scheduled for restoration have been removed.

The Falls district encompasses Rotary Park, at the gateway corner of Snoqualmie Parkway and 202, beautifying this corner and offering continued trail access between Snoqualmie Ridge, downtown and the Falls. Further up the Parkway is the Kimball residential/retail complex, and across the Parkway, the municipal campus is home to the fire station, community center and pool. The community center and pool offer a variety of activities and are used extensively by local schools for swim-team training and competition, and the center’s location is drawing guests from the Salish, as well as the community as a whole. The combined patronage decreases the annual maintenance costs borne by the municipality. The Salish Lodge and accompanying convention center anchor this area, and accessibility has been enhanced by the walking trail that connects to downtown and the Ridge district.

The vibrant Ridge district is the largest district consisting of residential units, small retail, business and commercial centers, restaurants, police station, elementary school, numerous recreation facilities, gas station and shopping center. The King County library, located next to the school and retail center, complements the neighborhood design and has reduced the need for on-street parking in that neighborhood. The community parks are continuously used with soccer, T-ball, softball games and tournaments, or family picnics.

This vision assumes the City Council follows certain recommendations, decisions and findings:

Administration building in historic Snoqualmie: A University of Washington study was performed to minimize the impact of growth on historic Snoqualmie. Recommendation: “It is vital a government facility remain in historic Snoqualmie.” To implement the study results the city’s Comprehensive Plan reads: “Ensure a government facility remain in historic Snoqualmie.” The property for the administration building was donated to the city.

King County Library System (KCLS) Board’s decision not to build a new library in historic Snoqualmie: The money generated from the KCLS purchase of the former community center site lowered the cost for the new community center.

Community center located at the municipal campus: The desire to have a community center be a recreation and aquatic center made the requirement for a larger site than the original site located in the Ridge district (findings from: Community center studies, letter from city staff and our city recreation director’s statements to council last month). The municipal campus is better suited for this facility and benefits by being located next to the fire station and emergency personnel.

The City Council’s interest and attention will be needed to design and plan this attainable vision. Thanks for letting me share.

Tony Yanez