Cheney Parks and Recreation has found a new long-term temporary space at the Tomlinson Black building, 2640 First St., Suite B. The City Council authorized Mayor Allan Gainer to sign a lease for the space.
Originally the city thought to lease space at Gatto’s Pizza, which had 6,000 square feet of space available for some of the department’s programs.
The cost to develop the space for the department’s needs, however, was prohibitive. Paul Simmons, department director said it would have cost between $200,000 to $250,000.
“Which, for a permanent location, this would be great,” Simmons said. The space would only be used until the city can find a permanent location for the department which was forced out of the Wren Pierson building in December after the building started to collapse.
The space at Tomlinson Black will offer the department 2,000 square feet of space, and the city will need to sign a lease for one year and longer will be on a month to month. Simmons estimated it would cost $80,000 to renovate. Insurance would cover all expenses, including the lease.
Councilmember Mike McKeehan asked Simmons if new locations were needed for the day camp and some of the dance classes.
Simmons said the day camp – which is held in the summer – can be held outdoors. The dance classes have been held at Showalter Hall on the Eastern Washington University campus, but the city’s agreement with the university will soon expire.
“We’ll make every effort to get them somewhere,” Simmons told the council.
Councilmember Tom Trulove asked Simmons if the department has asked Cheney Public Schools or Eastern Washington University if they had space for lease. Simmons assured him that he’s been putting out feelers, but the options available are very limited.
“We will be working very diligently to find a permanent location,” Simmons said.
In other business, the council voted to call to question an ordinance amending the business park zoning language in anticipation of the new Cheney Research and Industrial Park.
Elisa Rodriguez of the planning department explained the amended code would define standards for the buildings in the new park, such as maximum height on buildings, the size of any signage, how many windows businesses should have on the front of the buildings, how the area should be landscaped. It would also define which businesses could be included in the park – limiting the businesses to light industrial uses and avoiding warehouses, since the city received a grant to design the park to bring jobs to Cheney.
“I’m not sure we’re ready for the first reading,” Trulove said. He worried that making requirements on the aesthetics of the buildings would discourage some companies from building there.
“I won’t vote for it, and I think we should review these standards,” Trulove said.
The call to question deferred an ordinance to change the zoning of the Cheney Research and Industrial Park from light industrial to business park.
The next council meeting will be Feb. 24.
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