Kenmore council moves forward with boathouse at Rhododendron Park

City staff presented a two-bay option and a one-bay option for the boathouse to council.

At its Oct. 15 meeting, the Kenmore City Council heard about options for constructing a new boathouse at Rhododendron Park to support crew programs for students and adults.

Better access to the water is a top priority for Kenmore residents. City voters passed the Walkways and Waterways bond issue in 2016, providing funding for three water access projects. A boardwalk, dock and parking upgrades at Rhododendron Park completed in 2017 by the city for $1.25 million provide necessary infrastructure to support the proposed boathouse.

The park’s existing restrooms and parking lot will also support rowing programs. The remaining element is construction of a boathouse in which to operate programs and store rowing equipment.

Rowing is becoming more and more popular in Kenmore: the Kenmore Rowing Club anticipates growth from 28-100 participants in five years, while the Northshore School District plans to expand its program from 91-400 participants. The district began its first rowing program in the 2017-18 school year with students primarily from Inglemoor High School, but will open it up to students at all four high schools this school year.

Design concepts for the boathouse were developed this year by the city and its consultants in coordination with an advisory committee of citizens familiar with rowing programs. KRC, NSD and Pocock Foundation participated.

City staff presented two options for the boathouse. One is a 40 foot by 70 foot two-bay structure concept as envisioned in earlier planning stages, with a price tag of $701,454. The second is a 20 foot by 70 foot single-bay structure. At $479,959, it can be constructed under currently budgeted funding of $505,000, provided that the school district commits $255,000 in funding. The smaller building can store six shells, accommodating 30-54 rowers at a time.

Both options provide for a future second floor mezzanine that meets program needs for rowing machines, storage, team meetings and coach areas.

“While the immediacy of the need supports building a smaller building now, an appreciation for the space needed for a growing program and the cost efficiencies of constructing in a single phase, leads to support by the committee for funding the larger building,” according to the council’s agenda bill.

To make up the funding shortfall of $200,000 to $337,000, the city would have to look for contributions from the Pocock Foundation (estimated $25,000), King County Youth Amateur Sports grant program (estimated $100,000), private donors or other sources.

The council voted 5-2 to go with the smaller option, but build a pad large enough to accommodate the larger one if more funding can be found.

Also at its Oct. 15 meeting, the council discussed its policies for temporary homeless shelters and the 2019-20 proposed biennial budget. The budget was also on the Oct. 22 meeting agenda, which took place after the Reporter’s print deadline.

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