Comments sought on future Sequim Civic Center

SEQUIM — Residents will have the opportunity to comment on three floor-plan options proposed for a Sequim Civic Center that would combine police station and City Hall offices downtown.

The city of Sequim is hosting an open house meeting at the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St., from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday

“This is again, frankly, just the beginning of the process,” City Manager Steve Burkett said of the effort to consolidate all city offices under one roof that has been progressing since 2005.

The City Council has placed a public safety sales tax proposal on the Aug. 7 ballot to raise one-tenth of 1 percent in the sales tax collected inside the city.

The increase would add a cent to a $10 purchase.

If approved, the tax would generate about $240,000 annually for the construction of a new police station.

Burkett said the city would have to set up financing for the other half of the facility — City Hall — which is estimated to cost between $12 million and $14 million.

“The election in August would fund the police station part of it, and then we’ll have to put together the rest of the financing for City Hall as a part of next year’s budget,” Burkett said.

“It won’t be easy, but what we’re focusing on is interest rates at an all-time low and construction” being depressed right now.

The city has hired Seattle-based Arai Jackson Ellison Murakami for the preliminary planning process that includes space-need projections, cost estimates and preliminary site plans.

3 building schemes

Three building schemes have been roughly illustrated to show their design and fit on the city property running from near Second Avenue east on West Cedar Street to North Sequim Avenue.

The three options include an L-shaped building with two stories, a U-shaped building with two stories and a building with a one-story entrance leading to three stories of offices.

The city of Sequim in February finalized the purchase of property adjacent to the existing City Hall, 152 W. Cedar St., with the goal of building a new civic center that will include a new police station, City Hall and community-gathering space.

The City Council approved a $1.25 million purchase from Serenity House homeless shelter of a 22,000-square-foot property with existing buildings at the corner of North Sequim Avenue and West Cedar Street to go toward the future site of a new City Hall and Police Department.

The city now spends about $200,000 renting satellite offices for public works and planning staff on North Fifth Avenue and for police and other space in the Sequim Village Shopping Center, which includes the J.C. Penney department store and other retail shops.

“I think the logic is we don’t have a police station,” Burkett said.

“We’re renting in a strip mall. One day, we need a real police station.”

The City Hall administration building on West Cedar Street was constructed in 1974 and had to be remodeled for better use of tight space while new city facilities are being sought.

Serenity House has acquired Kite Girl Plaza to relocate transition apartments for the needy and a thrift store, which will be torn down fronting North Sequim Avenue and relocated. (See story, Page D3 today.)

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-681-2390 or at [email protected]

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