If you’ve driven through downtown Snoqualmie lately, renovation progress is evident. I drive through 8 times per day in my “mom taxi” so I’ve had a front row seat to each step of the remodel…. sometimes getting the best vantage point sitting in construction traffic.
Presently the majority of the work is happening on Falls Ave, River and King Streets. These city blocks will receive the same architectural treatments visible on Railroad Ave – enlarged, stamped concrete “boardwalk” sidewalks, new street lights, benches, bike racks, trash cans. New sidewalk trees will be installed soon.
The majority of work done during this improvement project was underground utility infrastructure. Look closely at this section of Railroad Ave and you’ll realize the old power poles and lines are gone. Electricity now runs underground… easier on the eyes and better in wind storms.
The completed work on Falls Ave will include new angled, head-on parking spots for the retail shops on Railroad and Falls Ave. This is an effort to make parking easier and safer for retail patrons. Also included are decorative, colored crosswalks inspired by train wheels. These crosswalks will be at the intersections of Railroad Ave, Falls, King and River Streets. Clearly defined crosswalks make it easier and safer for pedestrians and drivers.
Just like the train wheel inspired crosswalks, all new street and sidewalk features were inspired by the history and natural elements of Snoqualmie. The street and pedestrian lamps were inspired by existing antique street lamps near the railroad depot. The stone column’s inspiration is Snoqualmie Falls and the planked sidewalk’s inspiration comes from the railroad tracks running through downtown. The overall project design was an effort to remember the history of Snoqualmie while making our historic downtown new and alive again.
This downtown infrastructure improvement project is part of a bigger downtown revitalization effort to bring new businesses to the historic Snoqualmie area. Snoqualmie Falls draws approximately two million visitors each year – the second most visited tourist site in the state. City officials want to make historic Snoqualmie a tourist destination – a place to stop before/after a visit to the Falls. The first step is a some good old-fashioned curb appeal…. which is really beginning to show. The next step is attracting anchor businesses to the revitalized retail district.
The $3.2 million downtown revitalization project was funded by a $1.4 million grant from the National Economic Development Administration along with local matching grant dollars. The project is on schedule to finish in October. The city is also pursuing more grant money to improve a different section of downtown during phase II of the project.
For a look at the project design features: Snoqualmie_Urban%20Design%20Features_Jan%202010.pdf