Almost Final Community Center Vote: Yes, 53%

Through Nov. 14, King County Elections ballot results give the Sammamish Community Center a 53.18% Yes vote to 46.82% No. The margin is 1,402.

Through Nov. 14, 24,504 votes had been cast in all races and 22,030 in the Proposition 1 ballot. Total voter turnout recorded through Nov. 14 was 84.66% of the 28,998 registered voters.

Only 115 ballots from Sammamish were received Nov. 14.

This data is close enough to being finished that I can offer these observations:

  1. My unscientific poll finished pre-election with a 55.73% Yes polling. (Since then, a couple of more people voted No in the poll, but since this is after the election, these votes don’t count.) My polling was 2.55 percentage points at variance with the Nov. 14 results, well within standard margins of error. (Keep this in mind; this will relate to a future post.)
  2. With a margin spread of 6.36 points, the City Council has a comfortable win. It’s not a landslide but neither is it a squeaker. (President Obama and Gov.-elect Jay Inslee would have wished they had a similar margin.) The City Council can fairly and confidently conclude it has a solid basis on which to go forward with the Community Center and with final negotiations for a management contract with the YMCA.
  3. Concerned citizens have no solid basis to try and block moving forward, but they certainly can pressure the Council to negotiate a contract that minimizes risk to the City and, hopefully, shares in the profits. Although the Y is said to want the City to share in the P&L risk if it wants a share of the profits, my view is that the City is absorbing 83% of the construction risk and this is plenty, thank you very much.
  4. The name “City of Sammamish” better be the Big Type on the side of the building. “Managed by YMCA” should be the sub-type.

Final countdown to Election Day; unscientific poll gives Rec Center 56% Yes vote

Update, Nov. 5: The Sammamish Review has an unscientific poll that gives the Community Center a 72% passing vote as of 8am today.

Original Post:

There are just a few days left before the Nov. 6 election and for Sammamish, the big issue is the Community Center.

Here’s how I see it:

Our totally unscientific poll gives Proposition 1 a passing vote with a 55.73% margin. If this reflects the final vote tally, the City will be able to fairly consider this not only an endorsement of the Community Center but also of the plans to partner with the YMCA.

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Common sense on the Community Center

It appears that common sense may prevail on the proposed Sammamish Community Center.

That’s the project, readers will recall, that last year was headed toward a $64m, 98,000sf extravaganza that would have been the biggest city community center in King County, according to some.

It would have been roughly 2 1/2 times the size of our City Hall at roughly seven times the cost of the building.

Note that now City officials are putting the price tag of City Hall at around $28m, “including land costs.” I think this is somewhat misleading, but I won’t argue the point.

We already own the land on which the Community Center will be built, the so-called Kellman property. This was purchased not so much with a Community Center in mind; affordable housing was one preferred use, a folly–but that’s another story. So the original Community Center concept at $64m was breath-taking. It got a lot of justifiable push-back from the public and some council members who were fiscally alert and not interested in a Taj Mahal. The City was also charging ahead alone rather than partnering with a private entity well-versed in operating community centers.

According to this article in the Sammamish Review, the City is now talking with the YMCA about a sharply scaled down project that is priced at $29m for a 64,000sf building (the City Hall is just over 39,000sf). Further, Council Member Nancy Whitten thinks the YMCA should deed over the property it owns near the Pine Lake Middle School as part of the deal–an idea I think has great merit.

Kudos to the City for coming around to considering a solution that wasn’t even on the table.