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How will the City staff the indoor aquatic and recreation center?
If Proposition 1 is approved by Kirkland voters, the City expects to start the hiring process for the indoor aquatic and recreation center in 2026, so that the center is ready for use when construction is completed. The City would approach hiring and staffing the center in a manner consistent with its current practices. Learn more about City of Kirkland hiring and benefits at www.kirklandwa.gov/Government/Work-at-the-City
Staffing recommendations for the indoor aquatic and recreation center were evaluated as part of the 2023 Recreation and Aquatic Center Feasibility Study. A minimum of 18 full-time staff were recommended for a facility of this size, including six aquatics staff, as well as over 45,000 part-time staff hours. Learn more on the Recreation & Aquatic Center Feasibility Study website.
Has the City purchased the former Houghton Park and Ride site?
The former Houghton P&R property is currently (as of September 2023) owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). On March 16, 2022, WSDOT notified the City that it was surplussing the Houghton P&R property and asked if the City was interested in receiving additional information regarding the surplus. The City immediately responded indicating strong interest. Purchasing surplus property from other governmental entities without competing with the private market makes it more affordable for the City of Kirkland to purchase land for future use. In preparation for this potential acquisition, the City Council included $10 million for the purchase of the site “for potential aquatic and recreation facilities and/or affordable housing partnership project” in the 2023-2024 biennial budget.
In February 2023, WSDOT determined the fair market value price of the site to be $9 million. The City continues to be in dialogue with WSDOT, and the City and WSDOT signed a letter of intent regarding the purchase of the property on July 5, 2023. The City and WSDOT are in the process of finalizing the sale.
The former Houghton P&R property was evaluated alongside the North Kirkland Community Center as two potential sites during the Parks Funding Exploratory Committee process this spring and early summer. Ultimately, the former Houghton P&R was selected by Council as the preferred site after deliberation at several Council meetings.
What is the size of the former Houghton Park and Ride site?
The size is approximately 5 acres.
Where is the City getting funds for the construction of the aquatic center? How much will the aquatic center cost to construct?
If approved, the levy lid lift funds from Proposition 1 would pay for Aquatic and Recreation Center operations and part of the 2024 Design costs. In Ordinance O-4857, City Council committed to using Limited Tax General Obligation (LTGO) Bonds to pay for remaining Center design and construction expenses, with debt service paid from the City’s General Fund.
Potential cost estimates were included in the 2022 Recreation and Aquatics Center Feasibility Study. The estimated construction costs for an 86,000 square foot facility at the Houghton Park and Ride location were estimated $108,500,000 in 2025 dollars. This estimate includes all costs related to design and permitting, construction, furniture, fixture, and equipment procurement, and making the building ready to open. Learn more about costing on the Recreation and Aquatics Center Feasibility Study website
What is approximate cost of a new year-round restroom in a park?
The cost estimates for new year-round restrooms in Kirkland parks vary from $2,280,000 to $2,670,000 in 2024 dollars depending on the site location and conditions.
Will there be membership fees for the aquatic and recreation center?
The City anticipates that an indoor aquatic center would charge daily use fees or membership fees to help offset the operational costs of the center. Fees were modeled in the 2023 Recreation and Aquatics Center Feasibility Study. Any fees would be determined by City Council based on extensive community outreach and engagement. Discussion on fees would be guided by the cost recovery policy adopted in 2019.
Modeled Daily Fee (without Membership)
Modeled Membership Option
||Kirkland Resident Annual
|Household (2 adults & multiple youth)
- Fees are for drop-in use of most areas of the center (aquatics and dry-side amenities).
- Membership rates would likely include basic fitness class and childcare/watch services.
- Low-income memberships would be available based on a sliding scale.
[Source: 2023 Recreation and Aquatics Center Feasibility Study Appendix]
Is there a master plan for the Green Loop Trail?
Creating a master plan for the Green Loop Trail is a funded project in the 2023-2028 Capital Improvement Program. The City expects to begin the master plan process in 2024.
I’ve heard about the Sammamish Community and Aquatic Center with a building owned by the City of Sammamish but operated by the YMCA. Can you tell me more about that?
Sammamish Community & Aquatic Center is a 2-story 69,000 square foot facility opened in 2016. The building includes a 6-lane, 25-yard lap pool, a 3,300 square foot leisure pool, a spa, two gymnasiums (three gym courts total), a jogging track, fitness space, group fitness rooms, a break room, a family center room, two meeting spaces (maximum capacities 42 and 52), child watch areas, and administration offices. The Parks Funding Exploratory Committee (PFEC) toured the Sammamish Community and Aquatic Center as an example of a similar-sized facility to what the City of Kirkland might build.
The facility is owned by the City of Sammamish who contracts with the YMCA to operate the facility. The YMCA is responsible for determining what programming to offer and all expenses related to programming, maintenance, repairs, and building operations. The YMCA of Greater Seattle sets membership fees, which are the same across all YMCA locations in their service area. A family membership for a family of two adults plus dependents is $1,848/year + $125 joining fee and an adult membership is $1,092/year + $100 joining fee. Membership dues can be paid monthly, and the Y offers Affordable for All pricing to provide access to all. City of Sammamish residents receive a 75% discount on the joining fee. There is also a 10% discount for all youth facility-based programs.
The project was bid in 2014 with the following budget (see project materials here):
- $32,900,000 total ($55,812,500 in 2023 dollars)
- $29,700,000 construction costs ($50,383,929 in 2023 dollars)
- $3,200,000 soft costs ($5,428,571 in 2023 dollars)
- Additional Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF&E) paid by YMCA: $500,000
- Sitework: in-kind donations from volunteers
- Total cost (including construction, soft costs, FF&E): $33,400,000 ($56,660,714 in 2023 dollars)
The YMCA paid $5,000,000 of the total construction + soft costs and the City of Sammamish paid $27,900,000 of total construction + soft costs covered by a portion of the city’s financial reserves and the Parks CIP funds.
Comparing actual cost of Sammamish center to estimated cost of Kirkland center, using 2023 dollars for comparison:
|Costs in 2023 dollars for comparison
||Sammamish (2014 bid budget in 2023 dollars)
||Kirkland Center (2025 estimate in 2023 dollars)
|Construction Costs (in 2023 $)
|Furniture, Fixtures, & Equipment
|Subtotal Construction Cost (Construction + Sitework + FF&E)
|Construction Cost / sq ft
|Soft Costs (permits, project management, contingency funds, etc.)
* Projected contingencies tend to be significantly higher than actuals. The Kirkland amount is projected while the Sammamish amount is actual.
Did the City consider an operating model for the aquatic and recreation center where an outside partner would provide daily operations instead of the City operating internally?
The operating model of the aquatic and recreation center was discussed at Parks Funding Exploratory Committee (PFEC) meetings, by staff, and by City Council. PFEC toured the Sammamish Community and Aquatic Center operated by the YMCA as an example of a similar-sized facility to what the City of Kirkland might have and then PFEC members asked about an option for Kirkland where the YMCA or another group provided operations.
Ultimately, after discussions the preference was for the City to both own and operate a facility with City staffing. Some reasons for this decision include:
- Having an outside operator in control of operations limits community access to the facility. Having City operations would ensure community access to elements of the facility such as the multi-purpose rooms and community spaces.
- The City already manages recreation and aquatic programs at existing community centers and the seasonal Peter Kirk Pool, and contracting out operations of a new aquatic and recreation center would add unnecessary complexity to existing operations.
- City staff would be more able to respond to changing community needs and add new programming or shift programming options more easily than an outside operator.
- The City learned through the COVID-19 pandemic and KTUB that having City operations at City facilities provides much better flexibility in times of emergency. When the City owns and operates a building, staff can shift to using it for warming centers or cooling centers or mass care in earthquakes or catastrophic events. These are fortunately rare, but as the pandemic taught the City, they do happen. So, if the City is going to invest over $100 million dollars in a facility, the City wants the facility to be available to help the community when they need it most. Leasing out operations hampers those options significantly.
- The City of Kirkland is a Full-Service City, which means that nearly all services (parks, police, fire, court, jail, planning, etc.) are operated by City departments and staff. It would be aligned with current City operations for the City to directly operate a potential aquatic and recreation facility. The City of Sammamish is a Contract City, meaning they contract with King County and other outside providers for many services such as police and fire, therefore their contract with YMCA to run the aquatic and recreation center is aligned with their city's typical operations.
What is the future of the Peter Kirk Pool? Are there plans to remodel the pool or Peter Kirk Park?
At this time, there are no plans to demolish the Peter Kirk Pool or change current seasonal operations. Staff are currently evaluating smaller maintenance improvements for the pool to be implemented over the next few years. Creating a master plan for Peter Kirk Park is currently an unfunded project in the City’s Capital Improvement Program. There are no current active plans to remodel the park.
Will future city councils be required to fund the activities as described in Proposition 1? How can the City guarantee that the funds from the levy will be used as described?
According to state law, revenues from a levy lid lift (which is what Proposition 1 is) can only be used for the purposes as described in the ballot measure title. These purposes are further described in Ordinance O-4857. The City will make a Park Levy Fund to receive the Proposition 1 revenues and will not be able to spend Proposition 1 revenues on items or services that are not outlined in Proposition 1. For example, the Proposition 1 funds are directed to be spent on levy investments including aquatic and recreation center operations, year-round restrooms, park rangers, beach lifeguards, sport courts, teen services, parks maintenance, and green loop trail networks, and they would not be able to be spent other City services such as Fire and Police since the ballot measure title is focused on expanded aquatics, recreation, and parks facilities, operations, and programs.
How many people are on the waitlists for City of Kirkland aquatics programs?
At the end of the 2022 season, there were 10,850 waitlist entries for aquatics programs including swim lessons. Many individuals were waitlisted for multiple programs and there were 1,475 unique individuals on the 2022 aquatic waitlists.
At the end of the 2023 season, there were 10,107 waitlist entries for aquatics programs made by 1,449 unique individuals.
Note these numbers were run after the aquatics season ended each year. The total number of waitlist entries for an entire season is higher because individuals are removed from waitlists when they are offered a registration spot and either accept or decline it.
What percent of City of Kirkland recreation program slots are used by people who live in Kirkland?
In 2022, about 80% of total registered recreation program participants resided in Kirkland.
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