A special guest joined the City Hall Advisory Committee during its meeting on Thursday night.
Rex Bond from ARC Architects took a tour of Interim City Hall along with the City Hall Advisory Committee members. ARC Architects is currently in the negotiations process with the City of Mountlake Terrace to design the new City Hall. If the negotiations go well, he is expected to be confirmed as the architect for the project during the Feb. 21 City Council meeting.
Even though he has not yet been confirmed as the architect for the project, Bond came to the meeting prepared. He had two boards showing potential locations within the proposed site for City Hall. One put the building closer to the intersection of 58th Avenue West and 232nd Street Southwest to allow for an interior plaza facing the library and police department. The other option put the new building closer to the police department with an open plaza area facing the street.
Bond said it would be a good idea to begin reaching out to the community for input even with these early decisions. The committee was in agreement.
“By communicating early, we will have less work to do down the road to get this to pass,” Committee Chair Linda Rogers said.
At the end of the meeting, the committee reviewed a list of prospective locations to possibly meet community members to receive input. They expect to begin hosting such meetings by the end of February or early March.
Earlier in the meeting, the Committee took a tour of Interim City Hall to get an idea of what the new City Hall will need.
City employees’ wish lists begin at the lobby, where there are just four waiting chairs and little privacy between the front counter and cubicles. City Clerk Virginia Olson said it would be nice to have a larger area with clearer directions for customers, and small conference rooms nearby to assist people with emotional circumstances or needing to discuss private or financial issues.
Olson said it is not uncommon for a family with multiple children to come in seeking passport services, for example. At the same time, two different developers may come in to get permits processed. That leaves little counter space, and no room to entertain small children.
As the group traveled behind the counter, other issues became apparent. Filing cabinets for Human Resources are locked, but sit against a common wall rather than inside their own room or an office. Printers are scattered in the hallways between cubicles. City Councilmember mailboxes are inside Olson’s office instead of in their own room.
The records storage room is also too small and not safe enough for permanent documents. Olson said there are sprinklers inside, but if the building were to catch fire, the documents would certainly be lost or damaged. The old City Hall had a vault for permanent document storage.
Interim City Hall does have two medium-sized conference rooms, but Olson said they are too small for many typical meetings. City Council Chambers are often used for meetings with contractors just to accommodate everyone.
This first tour was meant to introduce the Committee to some of the challenges of the Interim City Hall. Its next meeting will be at the Mountlake Terrace Police Department, where Police Chief Greg Wilson will describe problems with the current Police Department building to see if some of those challenges can be remedied with some space in the new City Hall building.
The next meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23 at the Mountlake Terrace Police Department, 5906 232nd St. S.W.
Community members are encouraged to give feedback and suggestions to the City Hall Advisory Committee by emailing [email protected]. Those emails will go to the entire committee and may be discussed at future meetings. If your email is bounced back, call Virginia Olson at 425-744-6206. If she does not answer, leave a message letting her know your email address and that your email was bounced back.
Public comments are also accepted at the end of each meeting.