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Municipal campus gets Lions’ look

POULSBO — Mayor Kathryn Quade and Finance Director Nanci Lien gave the Poulsbo Noon Lions Club food for thought during a lunch meeting on the municipal campus Thursday afternoon.

“Thank you for the opportunity to show the latest sketches and we’re making progress,” Quade said.

One of her goals as mayor is to improve the level of communication between her office, council and residents of the city, she said, noting that such presentations help in reaching that goal.

The most recent conceptual drawings will also be presented at the Feb. 15 city council meeting, Quade said.

Even though she voted against the $14.6 million project as a council member in November 2005, Mayor Quade was aglow with the potential of the 10th Avenue site.

“If you’ve been in our current building, I liken it to a rabbit’s warren,” she said. “You can get lost in the building.”

The building once housed city offices and a fire station but now serves solely as a city hall, she said.

“We have people literally working out of closets,” she said.

When the city purchased the Morris property in 2000 for $600,000, it was with the intent of building a new city hall, but once a feasibility study was conducted, those aspirations changed, Quade said.

Then in 2005, city officials again embarked on their search to find a suitable location for city hall and ultimately decided on the 10th Avenue property owned by Olympic Resource Management.

“Geographically, this really is the center of the city and it gives us five centers,” Quade said.

The five centers are the historic downtown area, Poulsbo Village, Viking Avenue, College Market Place at Olhava and now the 10th Avenue commercial center, she added.

Lien clarified the financing plan for the $14.6 million project. The site work for both the city hall building and new police station will be completed first. Work on the new city hall building is expected to begin by 2007 with the construction of the new police station to follow at a later date.

“A number that has been tossed around is $14.6 million, but the building itself is only $7.9 million,” Lien said.

With construction costs rising at 8 percent per year and the 2010 Winter Olympics being held in Vancouver, B.C., it is important that the city avoid as many delays as possible, she added.

The city issued $5.1 million in bonds to pay for the purchase of the property and civil site work as well, Lien said.

“We will wait until September and see how the revenue stream is going before making a decision on issuing more bonds,” she said.

Quade added that the city has an opportunity to be a model of low-impact development practices.

“Environmental enhancement is really important to me and we’re looking at a rain garden and some other things on the property,” she said.

Along with the environmental enhancement, it is important that the public embrace and feel free to use the building, she said.

“We want to make sure the city’s heritage and culture are represented and we have gotten a lot of public feedback on that,” she said.

However, since the building is being designed to serve the city for the next 50 years, it is equally important that its design be timeless, Quade said.

The pre-application conference for the building permit required for the building is scheduled for Monday afternoon and the short plat for site is ongoing as well.

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