Citizens to vote on City Hall bond

$10 million bond will cover third fire station, senior, recreation, event centers


MICHAEL LINDER | The Daily Evergreen

Pullman resident Alex Hammod asks questions about both propositions Monday evening at the Encounter Ministries.

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

Pullman voters will decide on a city bond worth more than $10 million dollars come election day.

The bond, which is listed as City of Pullman Proposition No. 1, would finance the purchase and remodeling of city administrative buildings, a community recreation center and a senior center, and land for an additional fire station and a city event center, according to the online voters’ guide. The land is currently owned and operated by Encounter Ministries on Crestview Street.

The Pullman chapter of the League of Women Voters held an open house Monday night at the proposed site to discuss the two propositions that will appear on the ballot in November. City Supervisor Adam Lincoln and Recreation Superintendent Kurt Dahmen led the open house, which included a tour of the current buildings, a church and current recreational facility, and answered questions from the audience.

Lincoln said that the current city hall building has maintenance issues. In addition to heating system repairs last year, the current location needs roof work and lacks sufficient parking.

“On a $200,000 home,” Lincoln said, “[taxpayers] would see an increase of $88 in property taxes.”

If the bond passes, City Hall, which includes administrative offices and the Pullman Senior Center, would be moved to the Encounter Ministries property. This would take place following renovations to the current buildings.

Half of the bond’s funding would go towards the City Hall move, while the other half would go toward construction of a city event center at Lawson Gardens and a third fire station, Lincoln said.

MICHAEL LINDER | The Daily Evergreen
Pullman Recreation Superintendent Kurt Dahmen talks about Proposition 2 on Monday evening at the Encounter Ministries.

Dahmen told attendees that the public has shown great interest in the recreation center portion of the bond. Currently, the city must share space with area schools if they want to hold indoor recreational activity, which is popular once fall sets in and the weather cools.

“We have to compete with the schools from October to March,” Dahmen said, “when indoor space is a premium.”

Dahmen added that the school has priority on using their space, then the city is given next priority, while private groups are last on the list.

Renovations to the space would include an updated heating system as well as a commercial kitchen that can be used for events, Dahmen said.

One of the major concerns voiced by constituents at the open house was the future of the senior center. Accessibility and space were the two main issues brought up by concerned citizens, although Lincoln assured people that the senior center would be accommodated.

“I don’t believe City Council would be open to making the senior center move away,” Lincoln said.

Accessibility would also be addressed during the remodeling. Lincoln said that the city currently runs shuttles to pick up seniors for events, and that widening the parking lot entrance to fit a bus would be another solution they would consider.

The city event center planned for Lawson Gardens would provide citizens with a place to meet and hold their own events. People would be able to reserve the spaces for events such as weddings and workshops. Lincoln said though this could bring in money for the city, it would only be to a small extent.

The City of Pullman works with Northwest Municipal Advisers of Bellevue to sell the bonds. Because Proposition 1 is a ten-year bond, buyers will be repaid by the city within ten years of sale, Lincoln said.

The decision to pursue the purchase of the land came after discussions started between the church and the city last year.

The resolution was adopted on July 18 and was signed by Mayor Glenn Johnson and City Finance Director Leann Hubbard.