Northwest NEWS

August 7, 2000

Business

City officials welcome ideas from Woodinville residents

by Bronwyn Wilson
   In the spring of 2001, City Hall will move out of the two-story red brick schoolhouse located at the 10-acre site known as the Sorenson property off 175th NE.
   On the site and also vacating the premises is C.O. Sorenson School, the one-story elementary school which includes a small gymnasium, a swimming pool and six acres of ballfields.
   The Northshore School District plans to relocate the elementary students in a year and a half. Now the question before the City is what lies ahead for the property?
   What will become of the school's swimming pool and small gymnasium? Who will the new occupants be?
   The answer to these questions won't be clear for awhile.
   As a start, the City wants to hear from the folks who live in Woodinville. They want to know what their ideas are. How would they like to see the property develop?
   The City wants to meet with Woodinville's citizens to personally hear their ideas.
   And that's exactly what the City plans to do. On Wednesday, Aug. 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lobby of the City Hall, City, officials are ready to listen.
   Councilmember Don Brocha, Parks and Recreation director Lane Youngblood and assistant to the city manager, Deborah Knight will be on hand to talk directly with the public about the potential future uses of the Sorenson site. Everyone is welcome. It's an opportunity for the citizens of Woodinville to meet their appointed and elected officials in an informal setting," said Linda Fava, executive secretary to the City Manager. Fava explained that this is a time when people will have the chance to ask about the future of the ballfields or express what they would like to see happen with one of the buildings. It's also a time for people to learn first-hand about City policy.
   For example, according to Fava, should a pool or ballfield ever be stricken from plans at a site anywhere in the city, it is City policy to replace whatever is stricken.
   Councilmember Don Brocha said that the City is still in the information gathering process at this time.
   After the surveys and informal public meetings are over, the Council will make a decision for the Sorenson property. He said the phone survey, as well as Wednesday's meeting, will be important in getting input from citizens.
   "What we're really focusing on," Councilmember Brocha said, "is we want to see the property as a civic center, kind of an anchor for downtown."
   City Manager Pete Rose is in agreement. "We look to develop this property as a downtown civic campus along with the new City Hall. Together, these properties will serve as an integral part of Woodinville's downtown for the next 50 years and beyond."
   In May, the City hired Carlson Architects to develop a Master Plan to guide development of the Sorenson complex into a civic center campus that will meet the community's needs. Carlson's scope of work includes an extensive public outreach campaign involving community surveys, meetings and discussions with stakeholders and community groups. Soliciting input in a public forum, such as Wednesdayís meeting, is also an important part of the public outreach process. City officials hold Meet & Greet sessions regularly to discuss topics that are important to the community. These informal forums are ways for the citizens to meet the officials who serve them and work together with them to make life in Woodinville, not only better, but ideal.
   In addition to the Meet and Greet, special focus groups are beinghosted by the Parks and Recreation Commission to invite comments on the Sorenson development.
   Woodinville teens' input will be collected at Roundtable Pizza, on August 22, at 6 p.m.
   This special meeting for teens will focus on what facilities and programs young people feel are important to incorporate into the planning for the Sorenson property.
   All Woodinville area teens are invited to attend and will have an opportunity to talk directly to the Parks and Recreation Commissioners about teen needs.
   For more information, contact Marie Stake, Executive Department at 425-489-2700. Or visit www.woodinville-city.com.