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Mountlake Terrace to try again for Civic Center bond

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By Melissa Slager
Herald Writer
The proposal is the same, but Mountlake Terrace officials are banking on the outcome being different.
Voters in the city will see another $25 million bond proposal to build a new Civic Center on the April 23 ballot. The proposal is the same as one that fell 124 votes short of passage on the August ballot, and is a scaled-down version of a $37.5 million proposal that failed in 2010.
The Civic Center would provide space for City Hall and the senior center while also expanding the lackluster police headquarters and improving the library on the same campus downtown.
The ceiling of the old City Council chambers collapsed in 2008, revealing a layer of asbestos and prompting city employees to abandon the crumbling building. An interim City Hall is in rented space.
"I think this time around the community is more apt to get out there and talk to each other about why we need it, rather than making someone back East quite wealthy paying $430,000 in rent (each year)," Mayor Jerry Smith said.
The bond requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass. The last vote was 57 percent, what City Manager John Caulfield calls "strong support."
Owning a facility makes more financial sense than continuing to rent, Caulfield said. For a new building with a lifespan of even just 50 years, it would mean savings of $18 million, according to city estimates. And that's with added amenities, such as public gathering spaces.
Beyond that, city leaders see the Civic Center project as providing "an anchor" for the revitalization work they've been focusing on downtown.
"We're not building for us as a council. We're building it for the city and to make it better than it is already," Smith said.
At a glance
For more information:
• Visit the Civic Center section of the city's website:
• Call Mayor Jerry Smith at 425-876-1701.
• Reach other City Council members through City Hall at 425-744-6206.
Story tags » Mountlake TerraceLocal elections

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