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‘Harding’s Folly’ –
Yelm Council to vote Community Center rental rates tomorrow

Drawing courtesy: City of Yelm

“Harding’s Folly” Community Center rental rates set to be approved tomorrow.

– Tuesday’s council session will discuss Community Center public usage rental rates.
With rental rates set at $100 an hour to rent the entire hall, which holds 200-250 people with tables and chairs or $50 an hour to rent half the hall for 100-125 seated persons, plus additional charges for early opening/late closing, kitchen rental, city staff assistance and A-V equipment rental (which does NOT include rental of tables/chairs), why would anyone use this facility for a meeting or function, other than during Prairie Days, Christmas in the Park or a sporting event?

– With glass walls providing no privacy, isn’t this more suited as a basketball court?
There is no “warmth” to this facility for those that might wish to rent the space. At night, the glass walls and doors provide no privacy. And to decorate to add warmth for a welcoming event held there, one must be willing to pay exorbitant fees. The glass walls/doors are also not energy efficient in our winters, adding city borne expenses in having heat running constantly in the building. Additionally, there is no storage space in the facility, so tables/chairs must be additionally obtained by the renter.

And while the Community Center has a commercial kitchen with a window opening up into the inner hall and one opening to the outside park in front of a playgorund, why did the city need to go to the expense of commercial kitchen appliances, which will be rarely used?

– The Yelm Prairie Hotel has a Conference Center more suited as a Community Center for meetings, weddings and other functions.
Their Conference Center can easily seat 100, which is where the Yelm Chamber of Commerce has their monthly luncheon Forums there and not likely to move those to the Yelm Community Center. With A-V equipment, a side space for buffet service, carpeted floors, and window coverings, this is a far more inviting venue.

– Mayor Harding does not “get it” – his constituents want no new taxes!
Yelm was the lone ballot loss in Thurston County for support of the local Schools bond – area property owners said no more new taxes for construction bonds, vetoed now twice by the voters. Additionally, City of Yelm voters twice rejected construction bonds for this Community Center, yet Mr. Harding went around the voters to get grant funding to build a slimmed-down version anyway. The voters now have to fund maintenance and operation of that building.

– Mr. Harding shortsightedly shrunk the Center size to avoid LEED certification.
Mr. Harding decided to make the Community Center design under 5,000 square feet so the building would not have to meet grant requirements to incorporate the expenses of LEED-certification (“Green” building design standards). Yet isn’t that short-sighted, as the return in LEED-certified energy savings would more than offset the LEED construction expenses in a short period of time, as Olympia Federal Savings did with their Yelm building, garnering much attention and praise?

The funds would have better spent on Public Safety staffing in the Police Department.

Posted by Steve on February 22, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink

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