Bothell faces new year with optimism

  • Written by Don Mann
Rendering courtesy of City of Bothell Artist’s rendering of future downtown Bothell looking south.

Bothell City Manager Bob Stowe made his annual State of the City Address amongst a crowd of hometown business people at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Courtyard Hall in Country Village on Wednesday.

It was Stowe’s ninth consecutive presentation, and it included an overview of the city’s budget for the next two years, updates on current projects and an optimistic view of Bothell’s future.

He talked about the city’s vision and “unwavering commitment” in its continuing downtown revitalization plan, but first he addressed the budget.

The city’s General Fund revenues, which pay for ongoing city services, are forecasted to be approximately $78 million in the 2013-14 biennium, and rely on three major revenue streams to fund services: sales tax, property tax and utility tax.

As business sales are down, he said, the city needed to raise its property tax levy by one percent to support vital public services, which it did.

Stowe then talked about the “Great Recession,” its slow recovery and the significant challenges it presents to Bothell.

Among those challenges, he said, is balancing the budget to determine what services “wanted” could be provided.

Regarding current projects, Stowe said Bothell has invested over $90 million as part of a $150 million program of infrastructure improvements in the city’s downtown core, which will ultimately leverage $650 million in private investment.

“Bothell’s downtown revitalization is expected to generate 8,400 temporary construction jobs and nearly 1,400 permanent wage jobs in the downtown district alone” Stowe said.

It includes improvements of Wayne Curve along SR-522, already completed and a realignment of the state highway to the south where Bothell Way meets Main Street. The park at Bothell Landing will also be expanded.

Perhaps most exciting, he said, are the plans moving forward with McMenamins —  the Portland-based brewpub firm — to transform the historic, though now defunct Anderson building into a 70-room hotel.

The hotel and associated buildings adjacent to Pop Keeney Stadium along SR-527 will include a restaurant, brewpub, movie theater and live entertainment venue.

Under agreement, McMenamins will also revitalize the former Northshore swimming pool one door down and make it available for Bothell citizens for free.

Stowe said McMenamins is on schedule to start construction this summer and open next year.

Beyond that, there is the future construction of a new downtown city hall and expansion of streetscapes, which will showcase the community’s vision for “high-quality” gathering spaces.

That city street will link Main Street with future development along and across SR 527 — the Bothell-Everett highway, Stowe said.

He talked about additional opportunities for development on other city parcels, which will be offered for sale and available for construction in 2013-14.

And he said the city continues to partner with UW-Bothell and Cascadia Community College to link the campuses to downtown and seek out creative ways for the city and colleges to collaborate.

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