Kirkland considers expansion of city facilities to accommodate annexation growth
By MATT PHELPS
Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
March 10, 2010 · Updated 10:09 AM
City staff gave Kirkland City Council members a brief overview of preliminary issues regarding the expansion of city facilities due to the growing size of the city and annexation, which will take place June 1, 2011 and nearly double the size of the city.
A presentation to the council members was broken into a time scale of three sections: Interim changes - present through 2011, intermediate changes - 2011-2015 and long term changes - after 2015.
The hiring of city staff, police, maintenance workers and the increase in residents means that City Hall will have to expand.
"With some creativity we believe we can address some of the departmental needs," said City Manager Dave Ramsay. "It is the police department. We have current space problems in the police department and annexation only drives that."
The cost of the changes is one of the biggest issues for a city facing budget challenges. During the meeting, Councilmember Dave Asher pointed out that the expansions of the various departments are estimated to cost around $70 million.
"We don't have $70 million so we are trying to develop solutions that fit into a smaller pocket book," said Assistant City Manager Marilynne Beard.
Beard said that city staff is being careful about what they spend money on.
"We don't want to sink money into investment for today that we can't use long term. But on the other hand, we can't be as far sided as I think we would like to be on the facility planning," she said. "I think if you are going to make an investment you would like to plan for some growth. We are simply so limited on resources that we are going to have to squeeze in for a while."
According to the preliminary interim plan set forth by staff, squeezing into City Hall will mean converting conference rooms to office space, changing the layout of the first floor to a more conventional layout to house more cubicles, demolishing the rental properties of City Hall on the south side of the main building to create more parking and using the former "Carter House" property for parking.
Those interim strategies are just for the transition and to house new employees. With the demolition of the rental properties, the city would build a parking garage on that site with 248 parking spaces.
The present City Hall facility was originally built in 1982 and expanded in 1994.
One of the biggest areas of expansion with annexation is public safety. The staff is working on a plan that calls for the Kirkland Police Department to take control of the entire lower level of City Hall in the intermediate time frame and then merge with the Kirkland Municipal Courthouse to create a public safety building for the long term.
City staff is also looking for ways to increase parking spaces at the courthouse. Currently the courthouse has just 30 parking spaces for visitors and 18 for staff, with nearly 100 people doing business at the court house on some days of the year.
Some estimates state that ultimately the KPD will have to have 17 to 18 additional patrol vehicles for annexation. The long term plan for City Hall would also include a new wing on the north side of the building. Staff have also made plans for alterations to the city's maintenance and parks facilities.
Beard named Interim City Manager
The council also named Beard to be Interim City Manager after April 2, as a new city manager is not expected to be in place until late 2010. Ramsay has set April 2 as his retirement date.Contact Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at email@example.com or 425-822-9166 ext. 5052.