Civic Center Master Plan goes on the road
by Bronwyn Wilson
Senior Staff Reporter
If you happen to be in Albertson's or Top Foods or a number of other local businesses within the next month, you may come across a display regarding the City of Woodinville's proposed master plan for a downtown civic center. The display will show a sketch of the proposed civic center and how it is laid out and what the basic components are. This informational display will go on the road from mid-February to early March, traveling to such Woodinville sites as Brittany Park, Frontier Bank, Coffee Republic and Big Foot Bagels.
Of the proposed plan, Parks and Recreation Director Lane Youngblood said, "The plan that is being reviewed is in a very conceptual stage. The City Council needs to know if the picture matches the many comments, surveys and phone calls we have gotten. If the answer is 'no,' we go back to the drawing board. If the answer is 'yes,' the Council will work on how to make the vision a reality."
Last year, the City hired Carlson Architects to develop a plan for the Sorenson property that is currently home to City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, the Sorenson School and adjacent ball fields. The plan, called the Civic Center Master Plan, is a culmination of input the City gathered from the citizens of Woodinville and its stakeholders to identify community needs for the Sorenson property. Citizens expressed what they wanted to see in a civic center through community surveys, letters, -mails and various focus groups. After all the data was in, the City worked with Carlson Architects and came up with a basic plan that would meet the needs citizens identified.
One of the needs identified was the renovation of the historic brick schoolhouse on NE 175th that would accommodate recreation classes, community meetings, and historical displays. Other identified needs include construction of a basic community center to provide a full-size gym, multipurpose rooms, classrooms for arts and crafts, senior activities and a teen center. Also included in the plan are underground parking, an attractive city gateway, preservation of the ball fields on the Sorenson property, paved parking, and reserved space for a possible future community theater and a small community pool.
The 10.5-acre Sorenson site was purchased from the Northshore School District in 1999. Said Youngblood, "The City Council has been very visionary by purchasing this land for civic purposes. Not many cities can consolidate this type of land smack-in-the-middle of their downtown. This is an outstanding opportunity to create a civic hub, and what happens on this site will determine the look and feel of the City for many years to come."
Now, the City of Woodinville wants to know what the community thinks of the Civic Center (Sorenson) Master Plan. What part of the plan are citizens most interested in and why? What's missing? What part of the plan will serve the community best? What part of the plan should be included in Phase 1 (if it can't be done all at once)? And they'd also like to hear other comments the community might have. Remarks can be placed on line at www.woodinville-city.com or written on a post card. The City pays postage and the cards are available at the display or at City Hall.
"No matter what direction the public takes, the civic center will change the face of the city and preserve a place in downtown Woodinville for future generations," Youngblood said. "The question is how and when." People who get involved in the project now will be able to look back and say, 'I did that!' It's an exciting time in the history of Woodinville."
The City Council approved the proposed plan at the Council meeting on Jan. 16. After the community responds, the comments will be tallied, summarized and presented to the City Council for a final decision, tentatively scheduled for the March 19 council meeting. For a schedule of sites where the plan will be on display, call (425) 489-2700.