SEQUIM — A full remodel of the Guy Cole Convention Center might come by year’s end.
City staff told the Sequim City Council last Monday that they plan to work with an architect to design the second phase of the building’s kitchen and classrooms in Carrie Blake Park.
They’ll have about $98,800 available for Phase II, said Assistant City Manager Joe Irvin, with about $64,800 left over from a $436,500 grant from the state Department of Commerce and about $34,000 from the city’s beginning fund balance.
The grant helped pay for the first phase of the project, which included renovating the bathroom, lowering the ceiling and adding new acoustic tiles, installing new carpet, windows and trim, a new roof, exterior lighting and paint inside and outside.
The 34-year-old building built by Sequim Lions Club members and named after Guy Cole, a community advocate, reopened May 16 after closing last year for renovations.
Some current and former City Council members pushed for a renovation of the kitchen in recent years.
Irvin said due to the age and condition of the equipment, “much of the kitchen does not meet code.”
City staff hired architect Roy Helwig on possible designs, under a contract to pay no more than $15,000 for his services designing basic mechanical, electrical and plumbing designs.
Irvin said staff members plan to bring back options for the council in June and possibly ask for bids for a contractor in early July.
He and other staff are exploring other funding sources from the city’s general fund and real estate excise tax to offset costs along with the possibility of a local entity supporting the project.
Live stream no-go
Due to cost concerns, council members unanimously agreed not to go forward with purchasing equipment to broadcast their meetings and other city entities’ meetings via video on the internet.
Discussions among council members began in late 2015 with city staff to look into providing better access to public meetings. This led to a sub-committee to pursue video streaming options. They recommended and council members agreed for staff to pursue video options that coordinate with the city’s audio recording service — Granicus Agenda Management and Audio Streaming systems.
Council members approved $15,000 for this year’s city budget for broadcast devices, but Sequim IT manager Clint Woods said that purchasing a system would be “significantly more expensive” at about $45,000.
Deputy Mayor Ted Miller said the cost wasn’t worth it.
“[Residents] can satisfactorily get the information from audio,” he said.
Councilwoman Candace Pratt said the program didn’t seem cost-effective because only four people on average listen to meetings and the city should wait until officials receive a greater demand for video.
Councilman Bob Lake recommended revisiting video options because the audio/visual technology could get better and cheaper later on.
The current audio system allows listeners to listen to a meeting in entirety or skip to specific agenda items.
Council members also agreed to update the city’s banner policy for renting the display space on the city’s west entrance by Ninth Avenue on Washington Street.
They voted 6-1, with the deputy mayor opposed, for a resolution focusing more on wording that promotes tourism and Sequim’s small-town lifestyle.
While most of the regulations remain intact, the policy now emphasizes that the banner was constructed using lodging tax funds and “that banners should be permitted only when they provide direct and positive benefits to tourists and the residents of Sequim and the greater Sequim/Dungeness Valley area.”
City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said the U.S. Constitution continues to prohibit city staff from allowing religious/ideological messages but church concerts would remain admissible under the resolution.
Permitted banners remain prioritized with the city’s events remaining the top priority, followed by tourism-related events in Sequim, athletic and special tourism-related community events within city limits, tourism events by other local governments likely to bring tourists into Sequim, welcome messages for conventions/class reunions/conferences, voting information, special events likely to bring tourists into Sequim and community events or activities in the area open to the public, that aren’t for profit, and promote small-town lifestyle.
The city continues to ban personal messages for family members, commercial promotions or promotions of religious, political, ideological or “issue” events not intended to draw tourists as well as advertisements of clubs organizations focused on membership participation.
Nelson-Gross will continue to review applications and City Manager Charlie Bush will review appeals.
The cost of a banner is $180 per week and each one is allowed up to two weeks consecutively.
For more information, call 360-683-4139 or visit www.sequimwa.gov.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at email@example.com.