Enumclaw Welcome Center construction could be around the Expo corner

It looks like Enumclaw is about to welcome the Welcome Center.

After 13 years of starts, stops, baby steps and more stops, the City Council approved a resolution Sept. 9 authorizing staff to enter into a local agency agreement and file the paperwork to get the legal ball rolling.

The Welcome Center is a joint project between the city, the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service. The plan is for a two-story building located near the Expo Center property between the historic Pete’s Pool fieldhouse and the entry road to the Enumclaw Golf Course.

The Forest Service will occupy the top floor. The price tag rings up at about $3.5 million with the building estimate at $2.3 million and $1.2 for site work.

Mayor Liz Reynolds said, “It’s been a long, arduous journey, but it shows the perseverance, shows the commitment and passion…. It’s been hard and we still have a little bit to go, but this was a milestone.”

Interim City Administrator Chris Searcy gave a brief history of Welcome Center time to the council outlining many of the pitfalls and solution the staff and forest service came up with to get the project over the goal line.

According to Searcy federal highway grant funding adds up to about $3.2 million  from three sources.

The city is required to match 20 percent, $319,355 that has been appropriated in the budget.

The problems over the last few months centered on shortfall for the second floor it appeared the forest service would not be able to find.

After a series of meetings and calculations the gap was closed to a manageable number between $5,000 to $10,000.

The forest service staff stated the cost could be covered by the agency.

Councilman Jim Hogan said he would sleep better knowing the city, “wouldn’t be left footing the bill for cost overruns for the second floor.”

The contracts are expected to take about three to four months to complete the agreements and contracts.