Following an open house on Monday, Dec. 8, focused on the design and costs associated with the Sequim Civic Center’s Community Plaza, city councilors voted six to one to proceed with all three phases of the plaza design.
The vote to pursue city officials’ recommended plaza plan has an estimated price tag of $530,000. Also, an additional $50,000 was included in the same decision to fund public art inside the center.
“I favor having the grass and planting the trees in the ground because I think it’s more ecologically friendly, financially responsible and aesthetically pleasing,” Genaveve Starr said as the one council member to not support all three phases of the plaza design. “I also think cost is a major obstacle.”
Despite Starr’s concerns, the remaining council members moved forward with the complete design plan and expect to pay for the plaza using an estimated $175,000 available in the contingency at the end of the project, $255,000 in the fund balances of the General Fund and the Real Estate Excise Tax Fund and an anticipated $200,000 from net proceeds from the revenue bond sale scheduled for Dec. 18 worth approximately $3.2 million.
City Manager Steve Burkett made his recommendation to the councilors to pursue all three phases of the plaza assuming that the city will receive at least $3.15 million in net bond proceeds.
“Finding the way to complete this project is one of the most valuable steps,” councilor Ken Hays said. “I think if we can do the first three phases, we would have something that would be pretty significant.”
Echoing Hays, councilor Erik Erichsen said Phases one, two and three “really add to the building.”
Given the council members’ decision, Burkett and city staff will begin to work with officials with Lydig Construction of Seattle tasked with building the 33,000-square-foot Civic Center, toward implementing the Community Plaza.
With all three phases envisioned, the Community Plaza designed for public events, gatherings and activities like the Sequim Farmers Market, among other attributes, will have colored pavers and concrete strips across main plaza area, multiple lamps and trees, a totem pole gifted from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, raised planters, two flag poles and infrastructure for a future water feature.
Regardless of the multi-phase design, Val Jackson, board president of the Sequim Farmers Market, said he plans to keep the market along Washington Street for as long as possible because of the good location and visibility.
“The key thing is to get people out of their cars,” Jackson said during Monday’s open house. “There needs to be a way to connect people to the plaza.”
The Community Plaza is one aspect of the $16.1 million multi-purpose Civic Center that also will house the police station and city hall. Burkett expects the plaza to be done by May or at the latest by end of June.