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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Council Roundup: Council moves to corral abandoned shopping carts

Also, master builders to build lab for city at Mercer Slough ed center

Shopping carts piled up near the Crossroads Shopping Center.People who take shopping carts more than 100 feet from a store could receive a $114 ticket under new laws adopted Monday by the Bellevue City Council. Video Interview with Deputy Mayor Claudia Balducci

Under the laws, which become effective in 30 days, store owners that don't collect abandoned carts within 24 hours could also be fined up to $100 per day. Shopping Cart Ordinance

City officials have debated how the city should deal with abandoned shopping carts for years, ever since they emerged as a neighborhood livability issue in 2006. Residents voiced concerns the carts were a major nuisance in some areas adjacent to retail shops.

By adopting the rules, Bellevue joins other Puget Sound cities such as Renton,  Burien and Auburn that also have adopted laws to rein in runaway carts. Council members said Bellevue's new laws provide a balanced approach to the problem by giving police a tool to combat the problem, and establishing performance expectations for retailers.

Carol Helland, Bellevue's Land Use Director, said the city plans to send out flyers and public information materials to educate residents and property owners about the new rules. Businesses will also be notified.  

The city will periodically conduct surveys over the next year to monitor effectiveness of the new rules, Helland said.

Feedback: Carol Helland, Land Use Director, 425-452-2724, chelland@bellevuewa.gov

Master builders offer to build lab at Mercer Slough education center
Mercer Slough Environmental Education CenterThe Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center, already a dramatic new facility where students from around Puget Sound learn about wetlands, will have a second wet lab this year, thanks to the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties.

When the first phase of the project was completed last October, the site at the entrance of the 320-acre Mercer Slough Nature Park featured a visitor center, a classroom, wet lab and community building. Another phase of expansion was to add a second classroom and second wet lab.

The Master Builders Association will actually build the second wet lab as a service project and hand it over the city upon completion. Wet labs are rugged classrooms that allow for messy, hands-on study of water, animals, plants and soils.

"This is a generous gift not only to the city, but to the whole region," Mayor Grant Degginger noted as the council signed agreements facilitating the deal. 
The MBA will celebrate a "ground breaking" for the wet lab at the site (625 118th Ave. SE) at 9 a.m., Thursday. The foundation is already done for the wet lab, but constructing the rest of the earth-friendly building would cost an estimated $200,000 to $300,000.

In a partnership with the Pacific Science Center, the city offers classes at Mercer Slough for students from schools throughout the region. When complete, the center will be able to serve 40,000 students annually.

With "green" building elements including recycled building materials, roofs that collect rainwater and low-impact drainage techniques, the center has earned awards for being environmentally friendly.

The Pacific Science Center provides science-based education programs targeted to youth to inspire lifelong awareness, understanding and appreciation for stewardship of the natural world. With the same focus, the city provides environmental interpretive programs for adults and families and maintains the property.

Puget Sound Energy helped lead the fundraising effort to make the expanded MSEEC possible. The project co-chairs, Jerry Henry, formerly of PSE and Jim Ellis, a longtime community leader, continue to raise funds for construction of the additional classroom.

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

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