Changes made at Park Center in Enumclaw

Dramatic changes – both visually and in the way business is done – are being made at one of Enumclaw’s most-visible enterprises.

Park Center Hotel has, in the blunt words of still-new general manager Tim Robeck – suffered in recent years. He freely admits plenty was done wrong since 2002 when Best Western sold to Bassi Enterprises, resulting in too few guests and a plummeting reputation. Even home-town businesses and residents were shy about recommending the 23-year-old venture.

Now, things apparently are on the upswing.

Since November, when Robeck and his management team took over, the shift in philosophy matches the physical alterations being made.

Anyone walking through the front doors will see new tile on the floor, efficient lighting, a trendy new color scheme and an updated front desk. Throughout the building, efforts are being made to honor Enumclaw’s past with historic photos; a room off the lobby, where breakfast is served, is home to a giant saw blade salvaged from a local mill. A meeting room that will play host to more than 70 people is getting a technical upgrade to meet modern demands.

Robeck, who came to Park Center from the long-term healthcare industry, brought with him a dedication to creating a germ-free environment. He retrained his housekeeping staff on the basics of not only cleaning a room, but destroying unseen germs.

Also gone are the days of the Park Center Hotel being a quiet member of the downtown community. Robeck does not shy away from drawing attention to the 40-room hotel, instead inviting the public into the facility. He has planned a week-long open house for May 5-11 with special days for the chamber, senior citizens and the art community, for example. He has addressed the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce and, as a volunteer marketing specialist with the Stars and Stripes Committee, has been actively raising money for the annual Fourth of July community fireworks display.

Robeck admits progress sometimes moves too slow for his tastes, but promises it’s coming. “We’re not where we need to be,” he said, “but it’s getting better and better every single day.”