Search for potential sites continues
The City of Kirkland is conducting broad public outreach on the proposed aquatics/recreation/community (ARC) center. One key goal is to identify the community’s preference to locate the facility on city-owned or privately-owned property. Comprehensive background information and a brief questionnaire are available at the Kirkland ARC Center “Virtual Open House,”http://kirklandarc.publicmeeting.info/. Community members are encouraged to visit the online site to learn about the proposed facility and to complete the questionnaire by March 31, 2015.
The online Open House provides detailed analysis of what factors the City has considered in finding the most appropriate site for the multi-purpose facility and what program and building features the public desires.
In the initial phase, the siting study primarily considered city-owned property to minimize overall costs. Based upon siting criteria, such as land size, access, zoning, neighborhood compatibility, two city park sites were deemed suitable for an ARC facility. The north side of Juanita Beach Park was identified to be more appropriate than the North Kirkland Community Center site. Artist renderings posted online are intended to show that Juanita Beach Park (north side of Juanita Drive) is of sufficient land size to accommodate an 86,700 square facility and parking, while maintaining open space and compatibility with the neighborhood.
During its consideration of the two park sites, the City Council also directed that additional public feedback be sought on the preference to locate the facility on city owned or privately owned property. The search for potential privately-owned sites is ongoing. Sites identified include: Property in or near Totem Lake Mall; property in the PAR MAC industrial zone; property west of I-405 in the Totem Lake Area; and property near the Kirkland Justice Center. Acquiring privately owned property of sufficient size is estimated to cost between $10 to $20 million.
Kirkland’s two community centers, the Peter Kirk Community Center and the North Kirkland Community Center, are programmed to capacity and lack many of the features desired by users, such as fitness facilities, gymnasium, and meeting space. In 2007, the Parks and Community Services Department, working with citizens and community groups, developed a prototype plan for a future multi-use community recreation and aquatic facility that could better serve the recreation and aquatic needs of residents of all ages. The need for such a facility was also identified during a survey of residents in March 2014. In that survey, 82% said they strongly support or somewhat support an aquatics, recreation and community center.
In addition to the Virtual Open House, the City will conduct a random telephone survey of Kirkland residents in the coming weeks.