City hall planners, Bothell citizens need to connect | Letter
June 7, 2011 · Updated 5:01 PM
I am really surprised I haven't seen more discussion in the Bothell Reporter about the new city hall that is currently being proposed. I have attended two out of the three public meetings, written letters, spoken to neighbors and am appalled at the disconnect between the planners and the citizens. The majority of voices I've heard expect a structure more in line with the red-brick style of the police station, Main Street Building and Lovestad-Worthington Building. Therefore, it was surprising to me when the architects presented a glass/wood/steel geometric design that bares no resemblance to the quaint character of downtown Bothell.
In addition, I have heard no acceptable justification for the huge price tag of $40 million. In this down economy with so many businesses struggling, is it responsible to consider this type of expenditure? Our neighbors in Kenmore paid only $15 million for their new city hall, perhaps we should compare structures and see if we could find a more economical solution? If the economy picks up great, but if it doesn't, our city will be burdened with huge debt. Is it worth the risk?
When you look around downtown Bothell, and see construction of new buildings that retain historical character, hear about exciting plans like the McMenamins venture and so many other positive developments, it makes sense to assume that our city hall will follow suite. Unfortunately the manager, council and developers have taken our new city hall in a direction that apparently appeals to their vision of the future, which looks more like the industrial zone than the heart of downtown. It makes me question whether those public meetings were meant to gather input, or a venue to present and validate their vision. The four-story structure currently proposed and scheduled to be ratified in July may come as a surprise for many. Whether you support the new Bothell city hall plans or not, I hope the people of Bothell will go online and get informed and engaged before this is a done deal.