Last week’s front page brought both hope and concern to many Valley residents. Hope that the hospital, which has been closed several years, will survive and flourish, hope that it will run without
large infusions of taxpayer dollars and hope that residents will take advantage
of great medical facilities here locally.
It is nice to have a staff that knows who you are when you enter,
understands your health-related issues and may even say “hi” to you at the
store. But more importantly, as our population base grows, it’s important to
have emergency medical facilities available locally, rather than having to travel
to an emergency room in Bellevue.
Despite the hopefulness in the hospital story, several other stories
bring concern. The county, in looking at its budget, once again fails to provide
funding for the Si View Pool and Community Center. How many times can such
a great facility be on the chopping block? Why is it always the Si View
Let’s target a community center near the home of one of the council
members and see what their reaction would be. Generations of Valley children
have learned to swim at Si View Pool, myself included, thanks to the talents
of instructors like Georgia Kramer. In a Valley surrounded by swift-current
rivers, you would think the county might realize that swimming lessons
locally have likely saved countless lives.
Maybe it’s time for the Upper Valley to create a parks and recreation
taxing district and take facilities like Si View out of county coffers,
managing them locally. North Bend has wrangled with the idea for years. The benefits
of Si View reach well beyond the borders of the city, and a parks district for
the Upper Valley makes sense. Heck, it might even be able to fund a portion of
the development efforts for the Snoqualmie Community Center.
Beyond the lack of foresight by the county is the increasing pressure
that Puget Western is putting on the city of Snoqualmie to make a decision on
their Falls Crossing project. What kind of legal wrangling is Puget Western
throwing at us now?
Touting a deadline to push something through with the carrot that a
portion of the property may be sold to a conservancy group is nothing more
than blackmail. Hey, I’m the first to tell you that it sounds great, but the
project should be approved or denied based on the record from the Planning
Commission and the deliberations of the council, not on the comments or direction
of a developer’s desires.
Puget Western has been asking for a fair and equitable review of the
project based on the law, the city’s comprehensive plan and the Planning
Commission’s recommendations. Let it happen. If a conservancy group wants the
property badly enough, and Puget Western truly desires a portion be held out of
development, it can be done when the project is either rejected or approved as
it currently exists. If major changes are being proposed in writing to the city
by Puget Western regarding the project, then it needs to go back to the
Planning Commission for re-evaluation. End of story.
Finally, the Riverview athletic bond has failed, much to the despair of
many Lower Valley athletes and their families. What will it take to authorize
the development of a usable athletic facility in the Lower Valley? Is it the desire
of residents, opposing the current bond, to see Howard Miller Field
expanded? The tax implications to the typical homeowner were negligible. If
penalizing the district is the intention, the opposition is failing. The only ones being
penalized are the student-athletes of the Lower Valley.
There are a lot of things happening in the Valley, stay tuned and
keep reading the Record.