The North Bend City Council took public comment on the proposed Snoqualmie Valley Athletic Complex project at its October 18th meeting, with the comments overwhelmingly in support of bringing additional turfed, lighted field space to the Valley.
The proposed private complex would be built in two phases on a nearly 12 acre vacant land parcel at the corner of SR 202 and NW 14th Street – with the four combination outdoor soccer/baseball/lacrosse/football fields and associated parking being built first. During the second phase, three indoor, multi-purpose sports buildings would be constructed.
Many commenters spoke to the Snoqualmie Valley’s need for more lighted and turfed field space – especially during the dark AND wet fall and winter months – and praised the developers (Snoqualmie residents) for bringing a project that would greatly benefit the local community.
To move the project forward, the North Bend City Council will need to first approve a development agreement – which is expected to happen at their next meeting. That agreement would authorize the developers to construct the [private] facility under development standards and provisions established within the agreement.
When the first phase of the complex would be ready is still a bit up in the air. The Snoqualmie Valley School District is planning to rent field space at the complex as a temporary home for its baseball and softball teams – as they are currently without home fields. Those fields at Mount Si High School were recently removed and graded as the massive high school rebuild project gets underway. The new fields at the high school won’t be ready until the 2021 season.
North Bend Community and Economic Development Director Gina Estep said at the October 18th meeting that it was probably more realistic for the Mount Si teams to be on the Snoqualmie Valley Athletic Complex fields in the 2018 season rather than during upcoming season.
State says Archeology Survey Required
The site of the athletic complex will be required to undergo an Archeology Survey, as requested by the Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP), prior to any land being disturbed for construction. Once completed and a report is submitted, DAHP will issue a permit.
According to a DAHP letter sent to the City of North Bend, the proposed athletic complex land has a “high probability for containing archaeological resources.” The land is within 3,000 feet of six previously recorded archeological sites, including Meadowbrook Farm. According to the DAHP Statewide Archeological Predictive Model, the land parcel also has “the highest probability for containing “precontact archeological resources.”
Assistant State Archeologist Gretchen Kahler described the requested survey as part of the development process, not something to prevent the project. She said the state is requesting the survey prior to land being moved because it’s much easier to do the survey first – and deal with anything found – rather than finding something during construction, which can lead to costly delays and possible destruction of any present archeological resources.
Kahler thinks there is a chance of finding both Native American and other archeological resources on the proposed athletic complex site, as the land near Meadowbrook and Tollgate Farms was said to have been used for large intertribal gatherings, as well as a tribal hunting area, in the past.
The Snoqualmie Tribe, as well as four other area Tribes, were notified of the state’s request for the archeology survey, which are conducted by professional, private consultants and involve shovel probes of the land. Kahler said the surveys usually do not take very long to complete.
City of North Bend Senior Planner Mike McCarthy said the DAHP Permit will become part of the city’s permitting process and SEPA review of the project as it moves forward.
If the athletic fields are not ready for the upcoming baseball and softball season, Mount Si could rent out different field space in Maple Valley or Bellevue or remodel a local field to meet high school standards.