The City of Snoqualmie held a community meeting on Sunday, June 9th to discuss expanding the Snoqualmie YMCA/Community Center. According to City Communications Manager Joan Pliego, about 80 people turned out to share their ideas and concerns. The pool component generated a lot of discussion during the 1.5 hour meeting.
The meeting started with a short (7 minute) presentation from Mayor Larson, showing schematics for how the facility could be expanded. He explained the current facility was sited on the property to allow for a future expansion and that schematics shown were not etched in stone, but more a high-level, broad overview.
After the presentation attendees were broken into small groups representing different demographics of the community (preschool, teens/tweens, high school, young adults, retirees, etc). City employees took notes while each group shared their ideas and concerns regarding the potential expansion. Later those ideas were hung on a wall and a representative from each group introduced what their group’s big ideas and concerns were.
All groups seemed in favor of a pool addition, but different groups had different feedback. As multiple North Bend residents and a Si View Parks Commissioner were in attendance, about 3 of the 12 groups stated they preferred the city to partner on a regional facility with Si View, but most groups did not state a concern with the proposed Snoqualmie location. The majority of groups said the pool should be at minimum 6 lanes so the school could utilize it for competition. It was also requested the pool include a diving tank.
Other feedback included making sure the facility was large enough for all needs – including exercise and weight training, community rooms, group classes, included a full size gymnasium, a larger teen room, a room just for older residents, did not raise taxes, the city provide community outreach regarding funding and future plans. Traffic, parking and free community accesses were concerns brought up in multiple groups.
All Snoqualmie City Councilmembers except Matt Laase were present at the meeting. They mingled throughout tables during discussions and listened to group feedback toward the end of the meeting. All notes taken by city employees were collected by the city communications department at the conclusion of the meeting.
Funding of the facility was not discussed at the advisement of the meeting facilitator. According to Mayor Larson, “The facilitator recommend removing the funding information so as to maximize the time for citizen engagement.”
Larson said the administration is still recommending funding the expansion without a voter approved capital bond. Instead it would be funded by $4 million of city capital funds; a 20-year $6 million ‘councilmatic’ bond that would require the approval of the city council; and $2.5 million from YMCA fundraising and a potential facilities grant.
The city is also pursuing a contribution from the Snoqualmie Valley School District – approximately $2 to $3 million – that would be used to make the planned lap pool a 6-lane competition pool so the high school swim team could use it. Mayor Larson also discussed a possible future spray park near the facility. [See video below]
According to Larson next steps regarding the potential Y/Community Center Expansion, Pool Addition could include:
- The council requesting a city-wide survey conducted by end of June.
- A commitment/decision from city council and SVSD by end of summer.
- Finalize agreements and details between YMCA, City of Snoqualmie, SVSD (if want to partner) by end of year.
- 2020: focus on final designs, fundraising and permitting
- Groundbreaking, Spring 2021.