Facility with co-located services would open in downtown Vashon in spring 2013 if County Council agrees
StoryKing County Executive Dow Constantine today announced a proposed partnership with Vashon Island Fire and Rescue (VIFR) to renovate the VIFR Association Building in downtown Vashon for use as a multi-purpose rural service center that will create efficiencies, reduce costs to the public, and better serve Island residents.
“By partnering with Vashon Island Fire and Rescue we can locate several County services in a central facility that is more convenient for Vashon and Maury Islanders, and gets the most use from an existing community asset,” said Executive Constantine.
If approved by the King County Council, the VIFR building, located at 100th Avenue SW and SW Bank Road, will house a King County Sheriff’s Office substation, as well as provide space for King County District Court activities, the Vashon Community Service Center, King County Community Service Area staff, and for residents seeking help with permits from the Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) and County licenses.
“As a rural, unincorporated community in King County, the needs of Vashon residents are often unique. This proposed new space would help to better meet these needs and help to streamline County government,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, who represents Vashon and Maury Islands on the King County Council.
The proposed design will allow for more flexibility as needs change in the future, and over the long term will reduce costs and improve service to the community.
In addition to consolidating and providing a new home for many County services, the building would also be used by VIFR for emergency response exercises, and could serve as an operations center during an actual disaster. Vashon community groups will be able to work with VIFR to schedule the facility for community meetings or other events.
“With today’s challenging economic climate, we welcome the effort by King County to consolidate resources. This new facility would be a benefit to the entire Vashon and Maury Island community,” said Assistant Chief George Brown of Vashon Island Fire and Rescue.“We have been working for some time with all of the stakeholders to find a facility that would be closer to downtown Vashon,” said King County Sheriff Steve Strachan. “Not everything has been finalized but we are working toward a fiscally responsible solution that will sustain us for years to come.”
While the VIFR building requires a $700,000 initial investment for tenant improvements, the proposal calls for no rent for the first five years and below-market rent in future years – leading to long-term, 20-year costs that are less than staying at the existing Courthouse Square facility south of downtown Vashon and making needed upgrades there.
The proposal is set for a hearing in the King County Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee, chaired by Councilmember McDermott, on Aug. 21. If approved by the full Council, the new Vashon rural service center would open in spring 2013.