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Officials continue work on center

The city of Enumclaw, with a small band of powerful partners, has spent the better part of a decade planning a Welcome Center.

Things have successfully moved forward at times and, on other occasions, the process has stalled. Now, it appears there could be yet another obstacle to overcome.

Enumclaw Mayor Liz Reynolds and City Administrator Mike Thomas sat down last week with representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and others.

They heard the chosen site for the Welcome Center, on a wooded parcel of land wedged between the Enumclaw Expo Center fieldhouse and the golf course, may not be considered ideal by federal authorities.

The city has secured millions in grants to get the Welcome Center built and has spent approximately $600,000 in design work. Last year, it was discovered the building, as planned, may not work; it was designed as a two-story structure, but some of the anticipated space did not qualify for funding. Also last year, the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce pulled out as a partner, citing a desire to maintain its downtown presence.

The plan, all along, had been formulated as a joint partnership between the city, the chamber, the Forest Service and the Park Service.

Reynolds agreed new concerns have cropped up.

“There are certain mandates we have to address with the federal government,” she said. “Since we’re dealing with transportation money, there are guidelines to follow.”

Asked if the latest concerns could prohibit construction from beginning this year, Reynolds replied, “We sure hope not.”

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