Weigh in on changes in Lake Stevens

The Daily Herald - - LOCAL NEWS - By Kari Bray Her­ald Writer

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.

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