Forks outlines expectations for building in burned lot
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
Print This | Email This
Scam Alert — Fraudulent medical equipment calls phone targets target residents -- 5/17/13 -10:47 PM
Coming Monday — Discover the hidden treasures of your own backyard! -- 5/17/13 -10:46 PM
Grand opening of sidewalk, MV Coho ferry terminal slated in PA on Saturday -- 5/17/13 -10:32 PM
Learn about Clallam County historical figures during cemetery tour Saturday -- 5/13/13 -07:26 PM
'Eagle flights' for youth available on Saturday -- 5/12/13 -07:02 PM
A construction contract for the replacement of the hall, which had served as a downtown community arts center, could be awarded as early as January 2014.
In the meantime, city officials are seeking public input on what to build and what purposes it should serve.
40 at meeting
City Planner Rod Fleck polled about 40 people and guests at Wednesday's joint meeting of the Forks Chamber of Commerce and West End Business & Professional Association on their ideas for a new community arts center.
The Rainforest Arts Center, in the old International Order of Odd Fellows hall at 35 N. Forks Ave., and the adjacent Olympic Pharmacy building, most recently occupied by the Dazzled by Twilight souvenir store, burned to the ground in an early morning fire Oct. 29.
The IOOF hall and property were insured by the city for $3.7 million.
The city should know what the final settlement with the insurance company will be in two to three weeks, Fleck said.
Among the questions the city must answer before it can replace the lost community arts center are whether it should rebuild on the same property or move to another location, what to include in the new construction and whether the city should purchase the adjoining property to enlarge a possible replacement building, he said.
Among high priorities mentioned in the responses to the survey were that the building should:
■ Be aesthetically striking.
■ Have a multiuse design.
■ Be created in a whole-block concept, with area improvements to tie the old architecture with the new design.
■ Have a modern, usable theater.
Some respondents supported purchasing the adjacent property. Others asked for the history of the building to be taken into consideration for a design.
The former Olympic Pharmacy property, owned by Alaskan Financial Co. of Anchorage, Alaska, has been listed for sale for $74,500.
A few supported building in a new location and using the downtown lots for other purposes, such as an open-air market, Fleck said.
The next community meeting to discuss the replacement of the structure will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 26 at the Forks branch of Peninsula College, 71 S. Forks Ave.
Fleck said the participants in that meeting will be asked to fill out the same survey.
A group of 12 to 15 seniors and graduate students from the University of Washington architecture and environmental programs will work with the identified priorities to design multiple replacement options for the Forks City Council to consider, Fleck said.
“It will help us zero in on what people like or not,” he said.
Once the council has decided on a plan, Fleck said, it will be turned over to an architecture firm for a final design.
Under “a very aggressive schedule,” the construction of a new facility could go to bid as early as November, with a bid awarded next January, he said.
About 15 years ago, the Odd Fellows organization deeded the Forks building over to the city of Forks, which worked with the Rainforest Players to manage the building as a community arts center.
The 1925 IOOF building had received $300,000 in improvements, including a new roof and heating system, mostly funded by community donations and grants.
The community theater lost all of its costumes, everything in the prop room, at least $14,000 worth of electronics and lighting, and all of the improvements to the stage and theater area.
The theater seated 150 people, and it could be converted to a ballroom that could be rented out for community dances and events.
A secondary room had space for 50 people.
A square dance group held weekly dance classes, and a spinning class kept 14 spinning wheels and looms on the third floor — all lost in the fire.
There also were two street-level storefronts in the building. One was occupied by Tienda Latina, a small Latin American merchandise and grocery store that opened in 1994, and the other was unoccupied, according to officials.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: March 14. 2013 5:19PM