A proposal for a prime piece of Enumclaw real estate was spelled out recently by a downtown business owner. For their part, members of the City Council listened and asked questions, but made no promises.
The Feb. 25 presentation was made by Marilyn Nelson during a regularly-scheduled session of the Council.
Nelson has, for some time, envisioned a pavilion occupying the block that fronts Cole Street, bordered by Stevenson and Initial avenues. She is the owner of CC’s on Cole, which sits just across the street from the square block that is home to buildings occupied by the Chamber of Commerce and Arts Alive!, a small piece of public art, a public restroom and a lot of public parking.
One of the city’s stated goals is to see the parcel developed. Last year, Enumclaw issued a formal “request for proposals,” spelling out, in detail, what it would like to see. Nothing meeting the city criteria came forward, but a few proposals have come to light.
Nelson’s was the second idea pitched to the council. When stepping before the council, she said it has been “an ongoing passion of mine to create a gathering space for Enumclaw.”
Nelson initially considered a pavilion on what is now Railroad Street, a move that would have meant vacating a portion of pavement. Her plans changed when it was noted there are public utilities beneath the street. So, her proposed building would have to shift a bit, but that hasn’t tempered her enthusiasm.
“Imagine the possibilities,” she said, of a building three stories tall (or perhaps two, if that makes more sense, she said) that would provide space for retailers, the Chamber and Arts Alive! The drawings she provided council showed roll-up doors that would provide an “open air” ambiance.
The goal, Nelson said, is to use a pavilion to stimulate economic growth, promote tourism and create income opportunities in town, among other things.
The local economy, she said, “is getting better, but it could be so much better, especially retail. As retail, we are still struggling.”
The city has stated a desire to see the property used for a public space that could host events or simply provide a gathering spot. Nelson’s drawings showed an extension of Rotary Centennial Park that would be home to a fountain and playground equipment.
Turning her attention to one of the biggest issues, she said, “You always wonder, where is the money is coming from?”
With regard to finances, Nelson first mentioned the potential for grants and endowments. “Anybody that gives us money, we want to be able to receive it,” she said.
Then, she added, “here comes the big funding.”
With that, Nelson suggested that the city sell a portion of the Cole Street property to her and her husband. Proceeds also could some from selling the current Enumclaw Senior Center, she said, along with other, unused city property. The Senior Center could become a tenant in a new pavilion, she said, as could the current youth center.
While Nelson expressed her excitement about the pavilion project and desire to get rolling as quickly as possible, it was pointed out that another interested party has approached the city. A presentation from that developer has not been scheduled.