Second vote on Woodinville Civic Center set for Sept. 17
by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--City residents and property owners will again make their voices heard when asked next Tuesday if they want to pay about $100 each year for 20 years to purchase the Old Woodinville Schoolhouse and the Sorenson buildings for final use as a civic and community center.
The property and buildings, owned and declared surplus by the Northshore School District earlier this year and now for sale, are zoned half-commercial, half-multifamily.
For the 10-acre parcel, the city has negotiated a price of $5.8 million and has an agreement to purchase it through Dec. 31, 1997 with a rough increase of $10,000 each month after Aug. 18, 1996.
Absent from this proposal are the three acres to the south belonging to Brittany Park and LeisureCare, previously part of the $7.5 million issue rejected in May. That proposal, which lost by fewer than 100 votes, would have bumped taxes up $124 annually on a $200,000 home.
Criteria to be met for passage of the general obligation bonds include a minimum turnout of 912 voters, with 60 percent voting yes. Woodinville has 4,816 registered voters, and more than 1,000 absentee ballots were issued.
City mails brochures
In an effort to answer frequently asked questions on the proposed bonds, the city has mailed residents two pieces of informational literature and are planning to mail a third just prior to the election.
The first mailing, a six-page informational brochure sent three weeks ago, cost $2,110. The second mailing, received two weeks ago, cost $1,043, as will the third mailing scheduled just prior to the ballot.
More than 4,300 pieces were mailed to residents and businesses. They point out:
- The nearly-appointed Parks Board for the city would oversee and determine the uses and plans of a community center.
- All property owners, including businesses, would pay for the bonds over 20 years.
- The council is in the middle of planning out a definitive plan for "incrementally developing the center," should it pass, as part of their six-year capital improvement program.
- The six U-8 soccer fields and five baseball backstops, part of the complex, were upgraded last fall at a cost of $135,000 from King County and are maintained by the sports organizations. They are zoned multi-family residential.
- The proposed master plan--estimated at $14,546,000--was compiled by consultants and a citizen advisory panel (CAP), including future land acquisition, significant site improvements, such as trails and streetscapes, and significant building improvements.
- The CAP recommended that the Old Woodinville Schoolhouse serve as the center for city government, Historic Society Museum, and the Chamber of Commerce; space be allocated for a senior center, adult day center, and a youth center; multi-use meeting rooms and a trail link with the Jerry Wilmot Green Gateway park.
- It would cost $21.2 million to relocate City Hall and accomplish what the city can get out of the Sorenson site for $14.5 million.
- The city is not currently pursuing the option of building a city hall, estimated at $3.1 million, at the direction of the 25-member CAP. The cost reflects a 1.5-acre parcel with a 15,000 square-foot building and no parks or recreational amenities.
- The 23,947-square-foot Woodinville School was built in 1936 and the Sorenson complex, built in 1973, is 39,218 square feet.
- The city currently pays Northshore about $35,000 per year for use of the old schoolhouse building and Council Chambers.
- The YMCA leases the gymnasium and the pool; Bellevue Christian School leases the equivalent of six rooms, or 5,000 square feet; one room is leased by the Northshore Co-op Preschool; and 20,000 square feet is leased for the Earlier Childhood Program for handicapped preschool children and Headstart.
- A partial leaseback agreement with the school district was approved for its special needs program for three years with extension rights up to two additional years if needed.