A report on civic campus focus groups was discussed at City Council’s July 28 Work/Study session. Assisted by Alison Peters Consulting, who facilitated the two focus groups of city residents, the Council decided to seek additional feedback before deciding on its next steps.
In order to gauge public opinion on how the city should move forward on the civic campus project, the City Council reviewed the results of last year’s post-election survey that concluded residents support the project but not at the proposed cost. The proposal includes constructing a new building at the old city hall site to house city offices, a community/senior activity center, police station, open space along with community meeting rooms and library improvements.
A revised plan reviewed by the Council in June, retains basic elements of the original plan while reducing overall costs by $12.5 million to a cost of about $25 million. Further value engineering coupled with the strong bidding environment that currently is very favorable for public projects, may bring the costs down to $22 million. Cost-cutting reductions featured in the revised plan included the elimination of the third floor offices and relocation of the Emergency Operations Center and storage space to the city’s current Operations Facility. Space at this facility became available following the purchase of the City of Lynnwood’s partial ownership of the building.
While currently leasing office space in a commercial building on 220th, the city does not have the finances to continue renting beyond 2014. Therefore, the City Council reviewed the following options: 1) a voter-approved Property Tax Lid Lift (6 years 2012-2017 or 2013-2018) to remain in the Interim City Hall; or 2) put the reduced-cost Civic Campus measure on the ballot as early as 2012 to take advantage of the favorable bidding climate.
In the coming months, City Council will gather more feedback from the community before meeting again to make a decision on its future direction.