Committee narrows city hall to three proposals

POULSBO — The choices for Little Norway’s new city hall are now down to three after city officials quickly eliminated two proposals Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Kathryn Quade met with Councilmen Ed Stern and Dale Rudolph along with Councilwoman Connie Lord and city consultant Ken Olsen from the Maritime Trust to begin the city’s long-range planning committee’s task of bringing two or three finalists to the council some time in June.

“How do you get a professional team together and miss the target?” Rudolph asked. “I think two or three missed the target, and they may have been pointing in the wrong direction.”

For instance, if city officials wanted to simply build a new city hall on the existing city hall site, they would have done so already, he said as he took aim at the proposal submitted by Egis Real Estate Services.

“I believe it was dead on arrival with a cost of $18 million,” Rudolph said.

Olsen, who helped the Port of Everett complete its 65-acre redevelopment project, also expressed concerns about the Egis proposal.

“To me it seemed like they were going to build you a building and leave town,” he said. “I just didn’t get much juice out of it.”

Egis has a number of large ongoing projects, so project management is another question which wasn’t answered in its proposal, Olsen said.

Lord agreed with Rudolph’s assessment of the proposal and said it didn’t include enough other amenities the city is seeking.

“If we’re going to do that, why don’t we just do it ourselves?” she asked.

After listening to the discussion, Quade asked if there was a consensus from the committee to eliminate the Egis proposal from further consideration.

“I have no problem dropping Strandloof and Egis,” Quade said as the committee removed the Strandloof proposal from consideration as well.

The Strandloof proposal suggested building city hall on the current Masonic lodge site at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Hostmark Street and a parking garage on the existing police department site.

“The parking garage seems to be an option, but it’s not,” Olsen said. “You have to do it first, so you can have parking for your building.”

The concept of a pedestrian bridge across Hostmark Street also runs contrary to the idea of putting more people on the sidewalks downtown, he said.

Other unanswered questions in the proposal include how to relocate the police department as well as the purchase cost of the property, Olsen said.

“I can’t see us moving to the south end of downtown,” Lord said of the plan.

Traffic on Hostmark Street in that area is already bad and putting city hall there would create even more issues, she said.

“They haven’t even addressed the approach on 3rd Avenue,” Rudolph said. “There, we’re right up against residential.”

Another flaw in the proposal is the pedestrian bridge and the location of the parking garage, Quade said.

“To me that creates a wall to what is a beautiful view,” she said.

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