Photo by Ann McCreary Don Linnertz, executive director of TwispWorks, shows where the “community plaza” will be developed beyond the information kiosk, which will provide an entry point to the area.

Photo by Ann McCreary

Don Linnertz, executive director of TwispWorks, shows where the “community plaza” will be developed beyond the information kiosk, which will provide an entry point to the area.

Campus center will become more ‘public-friendly’ space

By Ann McCreary

A “community plaza” that provides a place for people to gather, relax on a grassy lawn, enjoy outdoor music and arts performances, and even splash in a water spray park on hot days is envisioned as the next phase of TwispWorks development.

The proposed plaza would transform the expanse of vacant, paved area at the center of the campus into a “more pedestrian, public-friendly place,” said Don Linnertz, TwispWorks executive director.

Linnertz provided an update on TwispWorks development plans to the Twisp Town Council on May 10. The public will get a chance to learn more during a community event at TwispWorks on May 28.

The plaza concept incorporates landscaped, open spaces with pedestrian pathways, seating areas, and an outdoor, covered performing arts pavilion “to support state-of-the art sound and lighting,” Linnertz said. Plans call for a spray park that people of all ages could play in, Linnertz said.

A small, covered information kiosk in the midst of the paved area has already been created as the first phase of the project. The kiosk will provide an entry point for pedestrians into the plaza area. “We want to engage the community at the entrance of town,” Linnertz said.

TwispWorks expects to begin work on a 14,000-square-foot landscaped area at the center of the plaza by July, creating a small landscaped hill and building low concrete walls for seating.  This second phase of the project has been funded through grants and in-kind donations.

Will seek grant

TwispWorks is seeking a grant to fund the performance pavilion, which will use a design similar to the information kiosk, Linnertz said. A grant is also being sought to complete pathways and replace deteriorating pavement throughout the campus. If funding is provided, the pavilion and new paving would be completed in 2017, he said.

The cost for the plaza project and new pavement is projected to be about $600,000, with the majority of the money flowing into the local economy through the use of contractors and skilled labor, Linnertz said.

He told Twisp Council members that over the past five years, TwispWorks has renovated all but about 5,500 square feet of the 43,000 square feet of buildings on the campus.

For about 80 years the property served as U.S. Forest Service headquarters, until it was acquired in 2008 through creation of a Public Development Authority.  In 2014 ownership of the property was transferred to the nonprofit TwispWorks Foundation.

The renovated spaces are fully occupied by a variety of tenants — called partners by TwispWorks — that include artists, small manufacturers, educational organizations, KTRT radio and the Methow Valley News.

Two 2,500-square-foot buildings on campus that were previously garage bays are currently being renovated, and a new TwispWorks partner is lined up for one of spaces, Linnertz said.

AmeriCorps members stationed at TwispWorks have assisted in the renovation work, and students in Liberty Bell High School’s construction trades classes will help complete the buildings next fall, Linnertz said.

TwispWorks will host a public information event on the campus on May 28, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., including tours of the campus and a video of the community plaza project.