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City Hall with Fennel Creek trail moves ahead

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

The Bonney Lake City Council had a first peek at options and price tags for a new City Hall and community center, and only City Hall survived the cut.

Architect Rex Bond from ARC Architects presented numerous options to the council at a Dec. 7 workshop.

The sketches placed City Hall on a 13-acre site next to Target. The city purchased the property from T & S Properties in March for $1.13 million.

Various options placed City Hall on the north end of the site and a community center on the southern end.

Room for municipal court and police were other options.

A 31,000 square-foot, two story City Hall, which according to Bond, would fit a population up to 40,000, would cost about $8 million. Add the court and it jumped to 38,000 square feet and $10 million.

City Hall, courts and police need 65,000 square feet and about $17 million for a 40,000 population.

A 46,000 square foot community center comes in at $12 million.

The community center lost out principally because the 200-foot buffer along Fennel Creek would not allow enough room for the two buildings and parking.

"I think the stand-alone City Hall is the best option right now," Mayor Bob Young said. "The next step is to decide on the size and whether or not to include the courts. We probably will not include the police department, that would cost too much.."

The stand-alone city hall would have the police department staying put in the Public Safety Building and the courts moving to the City Hall Annex where the Planning Department is located.

City Hall could range from 24,000 square feet, accommodating a population of 20,000 with a cost of about $6 million up the $8 million model.

According to Bond, the building could be added on to at a later date.

The mayor stated the project will be paid for by a combination of enterprise funds - money from utilities, and councilmanic bonds. These are bonds put forward by a vote of the council and do not require a public vote.

Councilman Mark Hamilton suggested adding a Fennel Creek Trail ordinance to the City Hall package.

"Right now there seems to be very little support for City Hall," Hamilton said. "This may be a way to build support for the project among the citizens. I believe the funding is there. We can use impact fees and councilmanic bonds."

The trail would run from Victor Falls to City Hall at a cost of about $3 million. The goal would be to eventually connect to the Foothills Trail in Buckley.

"The trail is a great idea," Young said. "Our staff is putting together a feasibility study now."

The City Hall project is far from a slam dunk on the council. Beside deciding what goes where, the money will have to be allocated.

"I'm hearing there is some significant doubt about City Hall," Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman said. "I think the project as originally proposed by the Public Safety Building showed promise. As soon as it moved to the middle of no where that's when I didn't like it. I don't think we will know until we vote on the bonds."

The mayor seemed more certain of the outcome.

"By the time we get to the bonds there will be enough support," Young said. "It's gaining support in the community."

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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