News

Hey, buddy, can you spare half a million?

By ERICA HALL

The Mirror

At the same time Federal Way is closing the sale of its old community center for $1.1 million, it’s trying to raise half a million dollars for the new one that’s under construction.

The city’s parks department, working in conjunction with an organization called Northwest Parks, launched a capital campaign last week to begin raising money for a variety of items that will enhance the new community center, senior center and pool facility currently under construction near Celebration Park. The facility is expected to be completed in 2007.

The list of amenities with too little or no funding in the $20.6 million project budget includes a climbing wall, kitchen equipment, landscaping and other outdoor enhancements, furnishings and fitness equipment.

Those who donate significant amounts will have areas of the center named after them, and an entryway wall will be lined with tiles bearing the names of donor individuals and organizations.

City officials are hoping to bring in $500,000 during the campaign.

The community center is located at the southern end of Celebration Park and will feature a three-bay gymnasium, a lap pool and a leisure pool, a community wing, party and classrooms and fitness areas.

Tax-deductible donations for the community center may be made at www.nwparks.org or by calling (253) 835-6921.

Meanwhile, an unsolicited buyer has purchased the Klahanee Lake community center and senior center property from Federal Way. But the city will continue leasing the building until the new community center is finished.

The Klahanee building came to the attention of the buyer, Evergreen City Basketball Academy, during basketball practice earlier this summer, according to city finance director Iwen Wang.

The building’s broker, whose daughter was enrolled at the academy, was standing on the sidelines chatting with one of the basketball program’s officials while his daughter was at practice when the official told him they were looking for a new location in the south end. The connections were made and the academy presented the city an offer on the building June 7.

On Sept. 12, the City Council approved the sale of the building for $1.1 million.

The lease runs through December 2006, with an option for the city to extend it through July 31, 2007. The city will lease the building for $8,500 a month and continue providing its community and senior center programming there until the new community center is finished.

The Klahanee center has been the hub of the city’s parks and cultural services department since the city purchased the building in the early 1990s.

When they put it up for sale in May, officials said the facility was never intended to be a long-term community center.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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