Weigh in on changes in Lake Stevens
LAKE STEVENS — The city plans to build a new police station and the Sno-Isle Library District plans to look at building a new library on Chapel Hill, near Frontier Village, within the next few years.
The city bought property this spring on the northwest corner of 99th Avenue NE and Market Place. Sno-Isle is working to finalize the purchase of another property at the same corner.
On Aug. 22 and 23, the Sno-Isle Library District Board of Trustees and the Lake Stevens City Council approved an interlocal agreement to draft a plan for civic facilities there. It could become the future home of City Hall, but that won’t be decided until the city finishes its Downtown Subarea Plan.
People have a chance to weigh in on where they want City Hall to be, Lake Stevens Mayor John Spencer said. No matter the location, the city needs a new one, he said.
“We’ve outgrown it. We’ve got stuff stored everywhere, in every little cubicle, every corner,” Spencer said. “We have to move boxes out in order to get into other boxes.”
There’s limited ventilation, no real break room, worn-out restrooms and a mold problem. The city campus, at North Cove Park in Lake Stevens’ old downtown area, also doesn’t meet accessibility requirements for people with disabilities. Officials are working on finding a temporary office for employees so the
existing City Hall can be demolished, city administrator Mary Swenson said.
A new City Hall might be built downtown or at the property with the police station and library. It could end up somewhere else entirely. The decision comes down to a public planning process that just is starting to look at the future of downtown Lake Stevens, including city services, Spencer said.
A public meeting is planned for Wednesday at 6 p.m. to talk about what people want to see downtown and what changes are coming. The meeting is with the city planning commission and consultants at the community center behind City Hall at 1808 Main St.
“So many people are used to coming to meetings and seeing proposals and reacting to proposals. We’re not starting out that way,” Spencer said. “The reason we’re not starting out with a bunch of proposals is that the surest way to kill a plan is to start with a design. What we want people to come with is their ideas. What do they want to see?”
The only firm plan is to build a police station on the Chapel Hill property, he said. The station could be finished as soon at 2019.
The idea is to keep some kind of business office for city and emergency services in the old downtown even if the civic center moves to the Frontier Village area, Spencer said. The new property is more central to the city’s population now that Lake Stevens has annexed most of the land around its namesake lake.
The timeline for a new library depends on the site planning with the city and library district. People in Lake Stevens have needed a larger library for a long time, Sno-Isle Executive Director Jonalynn WoolfIvory said in a news release.
“The current Lake Stevens Library is well-used and beloved, but it just isn’t meeting the needs of this growing community,” she said.
The city bought the Chapel Hill property for $2.46 million. The price included nearly $1 million in completed site preparation for stormwater management. People driving by can recognize the property because the existing stormwater pieces make it look like work already has started, Spencer said. They can recognize the proposed Sno-Isle property because it’s the one with the large rock on it, he said.
Officials hope in the next few years, depending on planning and funding, to have an improved civic center that better defines the center of Lake Stevens.
“Lake Stevens is an interesting place,” Spencer said. “We’ve got this great big lake in the middle of it, so it’s hard to say what is the center.”
The Wednesday meeting is a chance to ask. The hurdle now is to get people involved, Swenson said.
“With a lot of these plans, there’s a lot of people who don’t interact,” she said. “We really want to make sure the information gets out there and we hear from everybody.”
For more information, go online to lakestevensdowntown.com.