Sammamish citizens have spent a decade asking for a community center, with a split but generally majority opinion supporting inclusion of an aquatic component.
City council after city council deferred the decision and finally this year undertook a “process” that came up with a proposal that will cost at least $64 million. At 98,000 sf, the building is 2 1/2 times the size of City Hall and (depending on whose number you believe) seven times the cost. Sammamish’s Taj Mahal would be the largest community center in King County, according to some.
The “process” ignored the city’s own Parks Commission, which was perfectly capable of making recommendations.
It’s a ridiculous proposal. And it appears to be DOA.
The current city council hasn’t taken a thorough review of the options of how to achieve the proposed community center. Only one proposal has been discussed: a bond issue vote that would stick taxpayers for the entire amount. Public-private partnership options haven’t been explored.
Other than Mayor Don Gerend, who is on record for wanting a Community Center that attracts from all over King County, it’s not clear any council member supports the proposal as presented.
It is very clear than none of the six city council candidates support it. The Citizens for Sammamish watchdog group, headed by Ramiro Valderrama, successfully pressured Gerend into committing to a vote of the citizens on what turned out to be the Taj Mahal proposal.
This becomes yet another example of the city undergoing an expensive process that is clearly headed for yet another re-do.
A successive series of city councils ignored the need. And the current one didn’t get it right. Let’s hope the next one will.