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Consultants Present Three Sammamish Community Center Proposals

Sammamish residents were given the opportunity to rate three prospective community center plans on Monday at a public meeting.

Architects from Barker Rinker Seacat presented three feasibility studies for a possible Sammamish Community Center to the public on Monday night and asked that the approximately 60 residents in attendance rate each site in a variety of categories. 

Each study presented the benefits and challenges of developing a 98,000-square-foot community center on any of the three prospective sites: the Kellman property site, near and the ; the Southeast Fourth Street site, near the town center; and the Lake Washington School District site, on land near .

According to the architects, investing on the east side of 228th Avenue and spreading the city’s various facilities out are among the potential benefits of the LWSD site. The site’s relative remoteness, lower visibility and lack of connection to existing parks and amenities are the potential downsides. 

The preliminary budget for building a community center on the LWSD site is estimated at about $67.7 million, which does not include the cost of acquiring the land.

According to the architects, investing in the proposed “Town Center” plan, superior views and proximity to existing park space are some of the benefits of the Southeast Fourth Street site. Its relative distance from other city facilities, its high site construction costs and space limitations are some drawbacks.

The preliminary budget for building at the Southeast Fourth Street site is estimated at $67.6 million, which does not include the cost of acquiring the land.

According to the architects, the Kellman Property site’s positives include excellent views, an existing infrastructure, proximity to City Hall and the Sammamish Library and easy access to transit lines. Concentrating many of the city’s facilities in one spot and increased traffic congestion are among the site’s negatives.

The preliminary budget for building at the Kellman Property site is estimated at $64.4 million. The Kellman Property site is also already owned by the city, which would eliminate the cost of acquiring new land.

City offiicals have said that no final decision has been made about whether Sammamish will build such a community center and what it will include. The architects are only offering proposals, based on three sites that the city announced last month.

But to give residents an idea of size, the Coal Creek Family YMCA, which is in Newcastle, is an approximately 49,000-square-foot facility, said Michele Petitti, the Greater Seattle YMCA's director of development for the Eastside. She also is a Sammamish City Councilwoman.

The dollar value of that two-story sports facility, which has two swimming pools, two gyms and a weight and cardio area, is $20 million, she added. 

In April, at the Sammamish public meeting to discuss the community center, city staff and consultants estimated that a $50 million project would cost someone who owns a $520,000 house $19.50 per month. That is 0.45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. There is a presumption of a 20-year term for the bonds.

If Sammamish residents and the City Council support a 98,000-square-foot sports facility, it would be larger than the Haselwood Family YMCA in Silverdale. That facility, which is under construction, is about 85,000 square feet.

Among it amenities, the Haselwood Family YMCA is expected to have a 35-foot climbing wall, six-lane swimming pool, lazy river, therapy pool, two raquetball courts, a full basketball court, cafe and outdoor and indoor play areas for kids. 

The Haselwood Family YMCA is accepting financial support from community and corporate groups for specific exercise or recreational areas. 

On Monday, residents were asked to rate each site for location, utilization, design, cost and long-term vision. The data gathered will be used by the City Council to help determine the final site.

Regardless of the chosen site, as currently envisioned the proposed community center could include swimming facilities, a gymnasium, an indoor track and other fitness and activity facilities.

An informal poll of each table revealed that the Kellman Property site was the most popular among those in attendance. Reduced cost seemed to be one of the most important factors.

Sammamish resident Aldin Linn liked the Southeast Fourth Street Site and its proximity to potential retail development. He was interested in the Kellman site as well.

“They were both pretty close,” said Linn.

Like many of those in attendance, Linn wants a community center but is not yet certain about where it should be or what it should include.

“I think we need a community center,” Linn said, adding that he isn’t certain that the facility needs an aquatics area.

The city is planning on holding focus groups to bring in even more data.

“We want a broad cross section of our community to participate and provide feedback,” said Jessi Richardson, city of Sammamish parks and recreation director. 

A decision on the preferred site should be made by June or July, said Richardson. The City Council held a public meeting on Tuesday to discuss the proposals.

Editor's note: The city of Sammamish has released the Power Point presentation from Monday's public meeting. That document is attached to this story and features rough, computer drawings of what a facility might look like. The City Council has not made any official decision about the center. Check Sammamish Patch on Wednesday for an update of the Tuesday evening meeting.

Valerie Spiegler May 11, 2011 at 02:24 PM
Letter to Sammamish Patch: What do I think of the proposals for a community center? We have a town center plan that is non-actionable due to complete lack of infrastructure in the planned "core" and lack of city money to provide it; insufficient densities making the project a non-starter for developers, only one reason being those inadequate densities make any contribution to infrastructure financially impossible for a developer. This plan sits quietly on a City Hall shelf; the Council totally inured and unresponsive to the financial and emotional havoc it has, and is, wreaking on the property owners caught up in its net. Okay, the town center plan is completed. Mission accomplished! The Council is now on the path to its next folly and mythical plan; a community/acquatic center. It isn't necessary to mention the ridiculous proposed square footage for a city of 43,000+ people. It isn't even necessary to mention the need to "purchase" the land for two of the proposed sites. Let's just consider the OBSCENE cost of such a project and how the City intends to find the money. As I wrote in an email to the City Council, last week: "If you have found such a huge sum of money in some forgotten cave, how do you reconcile spending it on a community center and NOT ON THE INFRASTRUCTURE THAT COULD MAKE THE TOWN CENTER PLAN (as deficient as it is) A REALITY? When will the people of Sammamish wake up? Valerie Spiegler

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