Candidate Question: Town Square

Candidate Question: Town Square

in Candidate Corner/Candidate Questions/Featured/Government and Politics

The Liberty Lake Gazette asked all 10 candidates the following question at the same time via email. The candidate responses are in the order they replied. Click on a candidate name to view their full profile.

Liberty Lake voters have rejected multiple plans for the Town Square project.
Do you believe some form of this project should be presented to the voters again?

How would you rate the importance of the following aspects of the project:
1) Library 2) Aquatic Center 3) Event/Community Center

Bob Moore campaign photo
Bob Moore

A primary element of the previous proposals was a new Library and the Library is presently conducting a “Needs Assessment” in connection with the update of the Library Strategic Plan scheduled for completed later this year. A lot depends upon the final results of this project, including the specific needs, projected costs and financing alternatives.

As a member of City Council in May, 2016, I voted to approve Ordinance No. 228 for a $12 Million project because I wanted all of the citizens to make the decision in August, 2016. This proposal was rejected by the electorate by only 125 votes.

In May, 2017, Ordinance No. 240 was approved by City Council to place a downgraded project for $9 Million on the August, 2017 ballot. Councilman Langford and I voted against this measure because we felt it was too soon after the previous proposal. The measure was defeated by 600 votes.

There is an imminent need for more meeting space that could be satisfied by a Community Center. The Trailhead project could possibly provide additional space, depending upon the final results of that project evaluation.

City Council previously determined that it would be desirable to have a Community Swimming Pool, not necessarily an opulent Aquatic Center. This project, however, doesn’t even appear on the Strategic Plan Capital Projects priority list.

The Town Square Master Plan does appear on the Capital Projects list as a lower priority (see attached). Ultimately, Town Square will be developed in some manner and depending upon the scope and composition will probably appear again on the ballot again!

Therefore, my preferences rating would be 1) Library 2) Community Center 3) Swimming Pool.

Liberty Lake voters have rejected multiple plans for the Town Square project.
Do you believe some form of this project should be presented to the voters again?

How would you rate the importance of the following aspects of the project:
1) Library 2) Aquatic Center 3) Event/Community Center

Annie Kurtz campaign photo
Annie Kurtz

I support exploring the idea with our residents. I will not support designing a Town Square without actively engaging our residents in the process. I will only support a project that is financially sustainable and/or revenue generating.

I don’t think an aquatic center, library and/or community center all have to be rolled up into one building. I understand costs will be higher for building individually; however, if we are able to partner with other local, regional and national partners we may be able to develop all three.

I think it is important to think about the location. Here are a few ideas I have for location of a community center:

  1. Country Vista near Ridgeline
    1. This would provide an opportunity for the community center and aquatic center to be centrally located next to the high school. There is more space to build on and plenty of room for traffic and parking. Additionally, the traffic assessment will be completed, and it is likely that traffic lights will be installed here helping to mitigate traffic flow concerns.
  2. Mission near the River District
    1. This areas would also provide a good location for a community center and aquatic center to be located near a school.
    2. More important, it would help to connect and integrate the River District into the city.
  3. Trailhead
    1. This area could be redesigned in a way that enhances not only the golf course, but also adds a multidimensional space that can be used as a community center for residents of all ages. Further, it would add to the “town center” feeling in that area of Liberty Lake.
    2. Traffic would be a concern here.
  4. Appleway and Signal
    1. The original site seems limited in size for building and parking.
    2. This area would compound an already difficult traffic scenario on Appleway with the addition of another traffic generating development.

I’d like to partner with other locales like Spokane County, Otis Orchards, Newman Lake, Greenacres, and Spokane Valley to bring a value to not only Liberty Lake residents but smaller towns nearby if possible. I think we could also consider working with other large community organizations like the YMCA and Salvation Army to see if they have interest in developing a new facility here. There is the opportunity to collaborate and build a high caliber center while sharing not only the space, but costs from design to build out. It is imperative that if a plan is brought forward to voters, that the building and operation of services within the building are sustainable and/or generate revenue for the City.

The Washington Growth Management Act requires the City to consistently engage residents in the comprehensive planning process. The last time the comprehensive plan was updated was in 2015. I believe the time is now to actively engage residents in a needs assessment of our community. If elected I will advocate strongly for the comprehensive plan to be updated and make proposals that match input from the community.

Here is how I would prioritize the three projects outlined in this question:

Community Center
We should be actively engaging our citizens in the process through outreach and a formal needs assessment. We need to understand the needs of toddlers, young children, pre-teens, teens, young adults, parents, single adults, empty nesters, retirees, seniors, veterans, individuals with special needs and disabilities and any other micro population in our community in order to design and present the most thoughtful and vibrant project.

Library
Literacy is a key foundation of education of our young citizens and I support having a library that is accessible and meets our community needs. Currently, our library staff does an amazing job bringing a variety of activities and events to our community. If we didn’t have a library, this would be first on my list of priorities.

The needs assessment of the Library will hopefully shed some light on what the community wants and needs from the library. Additionally, this information should also guide the space needs of the library for now and the future. I am excited to learn the results of the needs assessment and the consultants recommendations for our library moving forward.

Aquatic Center
An aquatic center would be a nice addition to the community for year round swimming for our community and residents of all ages. Soon we will have the new Ridgeline High School, and there is the opportunity for the area middle and high schools to share in the use of the pool to bring team swimming to the Valley area schools. I think there is an opportunity to collaborate with all of the school districts in the Spokane Valley to not only get input, but design an aquatic center that would be a great asset to our students and the communities in and around Liberty Lake.

Liberty Lake voters have rejected multiple plans for the Town Square project.
Do you believe some form of this project should be presented to the voters again?

How would you rate the importance of the following aspects of the project:
1) Library 2) Aquatic Center 3) Event/Community Center

Phil Folyer campaign photo
Phil Folyer

Do you believe some form of this project should be presented to the voters again?

No, not as previously proposed. City council needs to listen to the voters and accept the outcome. I would like to see more ideas and discussion on how best to utilize the property owned by the city.

How would you rate the importance of the following aspects of the project:
1) Library 2) Aquatic Center 3) Event/Community Center

Given the 3 aspects of the project have been denied by the voters several times. I don’t see how we can rate any 1 of them with importance over the other. It’s apparent there is support for some or all 3 aspects identified warranting further discussion. This is another reason for my decision to run for city council. I believe my business background in construction would be a voice much needed going forward with this discussion as well as many others pertaining to capital improvements. Please vote Phil Folyer City Council position 1.

Liberty Lake voters have rejected multiple plans for the Town Square project.
Do you believe some form of this project should be presented to the voters again?

How would you rate the importance of the following aspects of the project:
1) Library 2) Aquatic Center 3) Event/Community Center

Holly Woodruff campaign photo
Holly Woodruff

No, I don’t believe the Town Square project should be presented to the voters again. I’ve heard from several citizens that they do not want this on the ballot again. They think that twice was enough and they have spoken. Even at buildout, Liberty Lake will be home to fewer than 20,000 residents and that is an ambitious project to take on for a city this small. Also, a consultant has been hired to make recommendations for the Trailhead Golf Course Clubhouse, which at minimum could cost a couple million dollars. Renovations/rebuild there could provide the community with meeting space. As close as we are to Spokane and Spokane Valley with their resources, I’m not sure how feasible it is to talk about our own full-fledged event center.

Rating the importance of the various aspects of the project: As President of the Friends of the Liberty Lake Municipal Library, the library is important to me and I believe it’s the heart of our community. That said, the recent needs assessment was conducted with the understanding that there will not be a new building for the library – the consultants were told to assess how well the current space is being used. With salaries taking up much of the property tax money that is allotted to the library, increasing its size would mean more staff and more money needed for salaries. Still, given the increase in attendance at programs, and the number of media checked out, etc. it’s clear that the library is important to Liberty Lake. I want to see what information the needs assessment gives us from the community input. While I know that there are some who would love to have an aquatic center here, the reality is that pools are extremely expensive to build, maintain and insure. Again, we’re a small city with limited revenue. I don’t see this as a priority. As mentioned above, with event centers available in Spokane and Spokane Valley, I don’t see how Liberty Lake can reasonably compete with those venues. I do think some kind of meeting space that could double as a small community/senior center would be nice, and it’s possible that something could be built into Trailhead. I want to see what the consultants suggest for Trailhead before thinking ahead too far. I want to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to these questions. I’m happy to talk with you more or answer other questions you may have. Call or text me at 765-977-3611 or email me at WoodruffForCouncil@gmail.com.

Liberty Lake voters have rejected multiple plans for the Town Square project.
Do you believe some form of this project should be presented to the voters again?

How would you rate the importance of the following aspects of the project:
1) Library 2) Aquatic Center 3) Event/Community Center

Shane Brickner

I think we have to stay open to discussions about projects like these as the city evolves. As mayor and city council members, it’s our job to help educate and inform the voters as to what proposed projects would entail. It’s not supposed to be our role to push or promote projects. I said this last time, and I continue to say that it is ultimately up to our community to decide what they want and need. As elected officials, it is our job to represent those interests, and to figure out the best ways to meet those needs in the most fiscally responsible way possible. Based on the feedback I have heard from the community, many people felt the last proposed project was too grandiose, and the cost and details were not clear enough for some people to feel comfortable voting for it at that time. From those conversations, my impression is that the community priorities would be ranked as a community center, then a pool, then the library. I continue to be open to hearing from the community to help keep us up to date on their priorities.

Liberty Lake voters have rejected multiple plans for the Town Square project.
Do you believe some form of this project should be presented to the voters again?

How would you rate the importance of the following aspects of the project:
1) Library 2) Aquatic Center 3) Event/Community Center

Mayor Steve Peterson
Steve Peterson

Liberty Lake voters have rejected multiple plans for the Town Square project.
Do you believe some form of this project should be presented to the voters again?

The community needs to be engaged to bring this forward again once they have a good understanding of how it relates to the changes that have taken place over the past 11 years when the first bond was undertaken. We have huge changes in our make-up of space that have taken place or planned in just these past 2 years. We now have three BRAND NEW schools that allows more group space to use. We now have a very engaged and successful HUB that is in a position of expansion. Finally, we have a Library needs assessment being completed in December and a Trailhead Master plan consultant beginning his study of that facility and possibility. The City Council members have indicated that they would spend $2 -8 million dollars on a new facility. The Council will need to find a funding source for that much money.

How would you rate the importance of the following aspects of the project:
1) Library 2) Aquatic Center 3) Event/Community Center

Library will be determined by the Needs Assessment.

Aquatics is something we know we do not have as a public facility. We know care and maintenance of a pool is a concern so it must be community driven.

Event and Center by the information that comes forward on Trailhead and its new design.

Liberty Lake voters have rejected multiple plans for the Town Square project.
Do you believe some form of this project should be presented to the voters again?

How would you rate the importance of the following aspects of the project:
1) Library 2) Aquatic Center 3) Event/Community Center

Tom Stanley

1) The Library is a communal place that adds to the importance of community in our lives. A library offers us education, relaxation and, most importantly, free access to all sorts of books, magazines, music and movies. It is a safe place to meet friends, use the internet or get help with school assignments. The Library offers many classes and group activities. With a bigger space, it could serve a similar purpose as an event/community center. As a member of the City Council, having a strong and efficient Library would be a priority.

2) Event/Community Center would be a nice wish list item—provided the funds are available for such a center. However, I believe the funds could be better used elsewhere. Our priority should be our parks and arts programs. I have been involved in coaching youth baseball for the past 4 years here in Liberty Lake. Each year, due to limited fields, we have had to play outside of Liberty Lake. I have heard from many Liberty Lake Citizens who want to play more games in Liberty Lake.

3) The Aquatic Center is last on my wish list. I don’t believe it would be fair to the private business owner to have competition from the city. I am all for competition, but not competition that is government subsidized. Like the Event/Community Center, this would be a very expensive project just to use a pool, at best, for half the year. An indoor pool would consume even more financial resources. At this time, I would not be in favor of an aquatic center.

Liberty Lake voters have rejected multiple plans for the Town Square project.
Do you believe some form of this project should be presented to the voters again?

How would you rate the importance of the following aspects of the project:
1) Library 2) Aquatic Center 3) Event/Community Center

Dg Garcia campaign photo
DG Garcia

Do you believe some form of this project should be presented to the voters again?

Yes, I do! And it seems that our community is ripe for the Town Square project to be revisited. Conversations have centered on opportunities for those both young and old. The focus is not specific; however, it is on what people see as a plus for Liberty Lake’s entire community—everything from its location to the residents’ financial obligation. There are telltale signs that the community residents may be very interested and ready to take another bite of the apple.

A center would generate much-needed revenue, which would be available to the community if we experience another economic downturn. Additionally, it is a known fact that property values increase when Community Centers are a part of the picture.

How would you rate the importance of the following aspects of the project:
1) Library 2) Aquatic Center 3) Event/Community Center?

One of the cornerstones of my campaign has been my willingness and desire to seek input from the constituents. As their priorities may differ from mine, and mine is only one voice, hearing from the masses will be the best strategy moving forward. After engaging in a community discussion, we should rank those priorities that the community gives us and start from there. Once we know their priorities, views, and opinions, the opportunities are endless.


No response: Dan Dunne, Cris Kaminskas

Do you have a question you would like us to ask the candidates? Click here

Share with friends, family, and neighbors...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*