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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Council Roundup: Preschool OK'd for community center

To meet strong demand in the area, the City Council Monday gave the green light to a new preschool at South Bellevue Community Center.

The council authorized a four-year contract with Natural Start Preschool to operate the program. With capacity for 24 children, the preschool is expected to generate approximately $39,000 in revenue for the city each year.
Research of nearby preschools indicates the need is greater than the current supply, with waiting lists at several of the schools.

In addition to addressing a community need, with a program focused on nature that will use outdoors as a classroom, the preschool will make it easy for parents to improve their own health by signing up for fitness and nutrition classes also offered at the community center.

The city, with Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue, opened South Bellevue Community Center in 2005. The center is a "partnership for a healthy community" that focuses on health and wellness. This contract commences July 1.

Feedback: Terry Smith, Parks Assistant Director, 425-452-5379 or tsmith@bellevuewa.gov
Contracts awarded for artificial turf at Newport Hills Park
The council awarded two contracts that together will provide synthetic turf for soccer and youth baseball fields at Newport Hills Park in time for next year's sports season.

Completion of the project will fulfill the sports field improvement portion of the voter-approved 2008 Bellevue Parks & Natural Areas levy, which also included the installation of synthetic turf at Wilburton Hill Park in May. The two sports field improvement projects will be completed for about $200,000 less than the $3 million approved in the levy.

At Newport Hills Park, the city received a federal stimulus grant to install a state-of-the-art lighting system. In addition, the favorable bid climate will allow the city to provide additional upgrades at the park requested by the community, including additional parking, upgraded restrooms and relocated ball field.

The addition of synthetic turf makes often muddy, uneven fields more usable for year-round play. The Wilburton Hill Park sports field has already experienced more than double the use of previous years.

Feedback: Glenn Kost, Parks Planning Manager, 425-452-5258 or gkost@bellevuewa.gov 

Parks, library board seats filled
The council filled two vacancies on city boards Monday.

Downtown resident and educator Mark Van Hollebeke was appointed to a four-year term on the Parks and Community Services Board, replacing Merle Keeney, whose term expired.

Loretta Lopez was appointed to a four-year term on the Bellevue Regional Library Board, replacing Dr. Robert Viens, whose term expired. Lopez, a businesswoman, is active in the Bridle Trails Community Club.
Board members are appointed by the mayor with the concurrence of the council. The Parks Board advises the council on parks and open space issues, and policies regarding community services. Library board members serve in an advisory capacity to the King County Library System.

Feedback: Shelly Murphy, Deputy City Clerk, 425-452-6466, mmurphy@bellevuewa.gov

Wilburton Connections LID reviewed
The council on Monday gave the go-ahead to further study using a local improvement district to help pay for high-priority road projects in the city's west Wilburton area, just east of Interstate 405.

A local improvement district, or LID, is one of several funding options being considered to pay for two major transportation improvements that are part of the Wilburton Connections project. The package of upgrades is designed to accommodate future growth, reduce congestion and improve traffic flow between the downtown, Wilburton and Bel-Red areas.

An LID is a financing method used to pay for the design and construction of public works improvements. It's a way for property owners who derive a "special benefit" from the improvements to pay a proportionate share of the project costs through assessments. The special benefit is the difference between the fair market value of the property before and immediately after the project is completed.

On Monday, the Council reviewed a "feasibility analysis" conducted by a consultant, an early step in determining the special benefits to properties in the district. They also signed off on proceeding to the next step, a "formation analysis" that includes a more detailed analysis of special benefits to each property within the LID boundary.

The Wilburton Connections LID would help pay for two specific transportation improvement projects: the Northeast Fourth Street Extension Project, from 116th to 120th Avenue Northeast, and the 120th Avenue Northeast Widening Project, between Northeast Fourth and Northeast Eighth streets. When completed, both projects will include two travel lanes in each direction, a center turn lane where needed, bike lanes and sidewalk on both sides, and other improvements.

Total cost for the two projects is estimated at $47.5 million, most of it ($29 million) to acquire the needed rights of way for construction. The current funding gap is estimated at $17.7 million.

Work so for by the consultant, Macaulay & Associates LTD, shows the estimated special benefit to property owners within the local improvement district in the $13 million to $18 million range. The upcoming formation analysis will refine this estimate.

In addition to an LID, other funding options that could be used to fill the gap include right of way donations by property owners, additional state and federal grants, additional property tax increases and transportation impact fees. 

Next steps in the LID process tentatively include a public meeting in July on the feasibility analysis, followed by a September presentation to the council once the formation analysis is complete.

The Wilburton Connections work is part of a broader Mobility and Infrastructure Initiative, a group of construction projects and other capital projects in the downtown, west Wilburton and Bel-Red areas that respond to increased travel spurred by downtown development. 
Feedback: Francine Johnson, Project Manager, at 425-452-6967 and fjohnson@bellevuewa.gov; or Paul Krawczyk, Co-project Manager, at 425-452-7905 and pkrawczyk@bellevuewa.gov

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