The Taj Mahal community center

Sammamish has a rather sordid history about the community center.

The very first city council (1999-2001) recognized the need for a community center but it and succeeding councils dithered and dithered.

The councils agreed early on to partner with the Boys and Girls Club to erect a building on 244th Ave. just north of NE8th, but the BGC dithered so long on fund raising that the Lake Washington School District built a school on the site.

The city then dithered in doing a deal with the YMCA for a public-private partnership, despite having a couple of reasonable proposals.

Finally, 10 years after incorporation, the city bought the old library at NE8th and 228th and contracted with the BGC to run the place.

Now we’re looking at the prospect of a community center that will be three times the size of city hall at seven times the cost.

Holy crap! Why so expensive?

In part, there is the desire on the part of some, including the high schools, who want competitive swimming lanes, at a cost of $10m. (But, notably, the schools aren’t willing to step up and write checks, it seems.)

As long as we’re talking about features serving people, this is one use for the pools.

Schools should help pay for pool

The Redmond City Council proposed to our City Council that they join and create a new taxing district to build a swimming pool. The details are in this Sammamish Review article.

Let’s see: new taxes for a park district. May Don Gerend wants to increase the Real Estate Excise Tax by one-quarter percent; and the City will likely need to impose a utility tax to either balance the budget in a few years or pay for its contribution to the Town Center infrastructure.

Here’s an idea: why not have the Lake Washington and Issaquah School districts and the Eastside Catholic High School contribute to the capital costs and on-going maintenance of a pool? Their students need an Olympic size pool for swim team competition. They now have to rent facilities outside the city and drive to get there.

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