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Community briefed on Woodinville Civic Center

civic center by Jeff Switzer
With meandering paths, a restored Woodinville Annex as the center of government and a historical museum, and a performing arts center, the possible future of the C. O. Sorenson Center is quickly taking shape.
   Packed into Room 25 at City Hall, members of the Civic Center Citizens Advisory Panel sought feedback after giving area residents a glimpse of preliminary drawings of the future Civic Center.
   "This represents a great opportunity for how we as a community are going to give back," said Stu Clarke, spokesperson for the committee. "We can save this piece of land for community use and set the tone for years to come."
   Clarke sees the challenge as one of creating an image of Woodinville that would serve as a focal point for generations to come.
   Carl Easters, an architect on the project, said the property is for sale and will be sold whether the city buys it or not.
   "This is a chance for Woodinville to establish and re-establish a center for Woodinville," Easters said. "That is a hard thing to come by any more."
   Several community leaders and residents voiced their approvals, opinions, and needs for the site, adding to the list of community organizations that may have frequent use for the Civic Center.
   The 10.5-acre parcel has been surplused by its current owners, the Northshore School District, and negotiations are taking place between the city and Northshore for the property and its buildings.
   In an attempt to take the long view for the center, the committee and the architects included several surrounding parcels in the plan as well.
   The cost range for the property and buildings is between $8 million and $12 million, and there are several options for funding sources.
   One is a possible bond issue which could be before voters in fall of 1996. Another is councilmanic bonds, by means of which a portion of the collected sales tax revenue would be pledged for loans to the city.
   The plan to date comprises six buildings (including the Old Woodinville School), the existing ball fields, 240 parking spaces, with the possibility of a multi-level parking structure in the future, and a trail link to the Jerry Wilmot Park.
   Proposed uses for the buildings include city government, the Chamber of Commerce, a teen center, a possible senior center, a historical museum, and a performing arts center.
   Also in the preliminary plan are plazas, parks, trails, and playgrounds, and a future site for the Woodinville Farmers' market.
   The next community meeting will be on Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers behind City Hall, at 13203 NE 175th St. Woodinville.