Kirkland Library Meeting Room
Laura Lee Pritt called the meeting to order and provided agendas and copies of the minutes from our last meeting.
Don Winters updated us on the new Peter Kirk Day, being held for the first time this year on February 15. Mr. Kirk was the founder of Kirkland and some of his relatives still live in the Puget Sound area and have loaned memorabilia for display at the Kirkland Arts Center the week following the 15th. Don also mentioned that the Kirkland Heritage Society is trying to raise funds for the renovation of the historic church on the Waverly site.
Dave Ramsay, Kirkland's City Manager, was our special guest. Dave updated us on the state of the city and upcoming projects. Dave mentioned the Downtown Strategic Plan which outlines a vision for downtown Kirkland. It's not a "master plan" in that specific blueprints have not been drawn up. Right now it is a concept that has no funding, but gives direction. The "Downtown Action Team" is continuing to study and promote these concepts for improving the downtown area. Parking is a big issue in town and Dave thought a new parking structure would be unavoidable in the future. One possibility is the corner of Central and Lake, where a current parking lot, which is unattractive at the main intersection in town, could be replaced with a nice retail building with parking above and/or below, possibly with public/private partnering. A new transit center will be necessary downtown and 3 sites have been suggested in the vicinity of the existing center on 3rd Street. All three may have flaws, unfortunately, and other options are being examined.
Dave said that the Wednesday Market has been very successful in Kirkland.
Dave mentioned Totem Lake and how there are new owners of the mall with plans to upgrade. The Totem Lake area provides 30% of Kirkland's sales tax revenue, compared with 6% for downtown. Evergreen Hospital has big plans to double in size and become the "Mayo Clinic of the Northwest". The Parkplace renovation is on hold for the near future, but the theater has been remodeled and is even showing foreign films now in addition to normal fare. There apparently will not be a new hardware store at Parkplace in the near future, as Jim Lauinger, who had been contemplating opening one in the old pharmacy building, instead will become one of the new owners of Parkplace Books, along with Rebecca Willow and Mary Harris. The bookstore will be expanded and upgraded in the future.
The "big white ship", which was brought into Moss Bay Marina to act as a breakwater, will be replaced with a real breakwater once all the regulations are satisfied. Dave thought the ship will probably be gone in 1 -2 years.
Bob Strernoff, a long time Kirkland resident and chair of the Park Board was our next speaker. Bob updated us on several park projects in town -- the Waverly site, which is a plan in wait of funding, and Marina Park, which will have a new restroom built, approximately at the site of the current Argosy ticket kiosk. Bob also mentioned that Kirkland is in dire need of more sports fields for our kids and this is a high priority of the Park Board.