by Richard Uhlhorn
Seven Acres Foundation Maribel Cruz, director of operations and Board President Ben Williams presented an update to the Chelan City Council on the construction of the Community Center. Cruz reported that the last three years have been difficult because of the pandemic and rising construction costs.
She stated that restated that the purpose of the Center was a physical space where people can meet in a centralized location. “It will also offer year-round recreational activities.
In 2021, the Foundation was able to level the building site and secure the critical permitting from the various agencies. Outside of construction difficulties, the Foundation has been able to develop relationships with a number of partners.
Williams told the Council that they have received financial support and that the facility will have three volleyball courts, six pickleball courts and a swimming pool. “Special Olympics is one of our partners,” said Williams. “Only 7 Seconds is another partner that has a mission to end loneliness.”
The project has received another million dollars but has/is facing a $9 million dollar
budget fall and Williams stated that they are looking for creative ways and options for support of the project.
Williams told the Council that the board has discussed ways the City could support the project through its AAU program which would be a benefit to both.
The other option that is being researched is a Muncipal Parks District within the City and County for funding. “This is the less desirable option,” said Williams. “We are looking for some support.” Williams asked the Council if they had any questions.
John Olson stated that the facility has to be accessible to everybody. Williams replied that it has been privately funded with the exception of State grants.
Chris Baker asked if there might be a market correction that might bring down costs? “I feel we are insulated from a recession.”
Peter Jamtgaard asked about membership fees to generate revenue. Williams replied that the Community Center has 11 partners who will be leasing space at the facility. “We are a couple of million in (long term) debt and would prefer to have no debt.”
The facility has grown from an original 26,000 sq. ft. to 40,000 sq. ft. Williams explained that the Roots School will be taking over the second floor. “We have a healthy demand for space,” said Williams. “Pickle Ball is in high demand.”
Williams also stated that there are 20 teams competing for time and space in two local gymnasiums.
Jamptgaard asked about the swimming pool. Williams said it will be an outdoor pool but the Foundation is developing plans to enclose the pool. “It is our intention to have a year-round facility.”
Tim Hollingsworth asked about the facility being closed airtight so interior work can begin. Williams replied that they are good to go to get the shell in place.
Chris Baker asked if the plans still include a church. Williams said Real Life would be occupying the facility for their church services and activities.
To help raise funds, individuals, families, organizations, companies and agencies can learn more about donating here: https://sevenacresfoundation.org/fundraising/
In other business:
The Lake Chelan Trails Alliance requested that the City release it from its required Liability Insurance clause that was put in place during the construction of the trail. Since construction is now complete, the Council approved the motion to release the Alliance from the liability insurance clause.
John Olson asked if the trail was on PUD property and how did liability play for users. City Attorney Quentin Batjer replied that the Washington’s recreational immunity statute protected owners in land opened to the public solely for recreational purposes. “I feel pretty good about it.”
Sundance Slope Annexation:
City Planner Craig Gildroy (who sadly passed away Thursday, April 28) said that he would like the Council to hold off on the Sundance Slope Annexation until the next meeting.
The property on Chelan’s North Shore is currently a working orchard with no future development plans except as an operating orchard. “We are trying to retain the right to farm within the city,” said Gildroy. He added that some property owners do not want to be annexed into the City. In addition property owners don’t want to lose their septic systems to a city sewer system.
“We would not take them off their well or septic system,” said Gildroy. Mayor Bob Goedde chimed in with the concern that he has real doubts about the annexation proposal and sees the possibility of the property becoming an 80 home development in the future. “It is just one more step in eliminating small town Chelan,” said Goedde.
Gildroy replied that there are no urban services in that area. Olson replied that the Manson Community Council is concerned with the proposed Bluewater Terrace and its access point to Hwy. 150. He asked if an alternative ingress/egress road could be built.
Jamptgaard stated he liked the idea of annexation because it gives the City control over the property like their control over Chelan Butte. “Preserving some of the orchards is important,” he said.
Batjer suggested that the issue be tabled until the next meeting. Council agreed.
The Public Works Department ordered a generator for Lift Station No. 5 in August of 2021. “We have yet to receive a deliver date,” said Jake Youngren. Currently the City is renting a generator for the Lift Station at $1,500 per month. Youngren requested the purchase of a used generator at a cost of $20,500. “It only has 5,000 hours on it and is in good condition.” The new generator would cost the City $50,000. Council approved the purchase of the used generator.
Servando Robledo told the members that the Hispanic Community is planning a big Cinco de Mayo celebration and invited everyone to join in.
Mayor Goedde attended a PUD Stakeholders meeting and said that the PUD has revenues of $58 million dollars in Chelan County, but sells $259 million to outside sources. “We have an opportunity to work with the PUD.
Youngren reported that KCRI is having less issues on the 200 block of the Alley project. He also said Public Works would be re-striping on May 9. He also mentioned that the department is feeling the pinch of getting services. “We are making conservative projections concerning our budget inflation related issues.”
Parks Director Paul Horne commented that fertilizer has gone up 300%.
Gildroy said his department would be changing its hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. based on contractors needs.
City Administrator Wade Ferris said they have had a good discussion on a new skate park/pump track and dog park. “It was a good discussion regarding the priorities about areas.
City Council meets every second and fourth Tuesdays as 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.