By Ann McCreary
Funding construction of a new Twisp Town Hall building is the “highest priority” capital project for his district, state Rep. Cary Condotta, R-Wenatchee, said this week during a visit to Twisp.
“Town Hall is a cornerstone, a foundation for this town. The mayor is trying to re-brand Twisp, and this is a base point for going forward,” Condotta said after meeting with Mayor Soo Ing-Moody on Monday (Nov. 17).
Condotta said Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, also supports a legislative appropriation that would pay for design and construction of a new Twisp Town Hall building.
A request supported by both legislators last year for design costs for a new Town Hall building did not make it out of the Legislature because the capital budget was not approved before the end of the legislative session.
This year’s request will be for $2.5 million. “It’s a lot of money for Twisp, but in a capital budget it’s not a huge request,” Condotta said.
“The valley took a hit this year” from the fires, floods and storms, and legislators want to help the Methow Valley recover, he said.
Prospects for funding the Town Hall project are also better this year because the state’s overall revenue picture is looking stronger, with an anticipated increase of $3 billion over last year, Condotta said.
Town officials have been aware of Town Hall’s deficits for several years, after a leaky roof brought them to light. In the process of repairing the roof, the town discovered that the 70-year-old former fire hall had hollow perimeter walls, after which the town reinforced them with concrete.
The building also lacks ventilation and a fire wall between offices and a shop where public works vehicles are parked; has inefficient heating and cooling systems; lacks storage for public records; has limited access for disabled persons; and has no emergency exit from the council chambers, which also house the municipal court.
The wildfire disaster and subsequent power and communications outages last summer also made clear the need for a building that could serve as a command center during future emergencies, Ing-Moody said.
The new Town Hall facility would be equipped with emergency backup power and communications capabilities, enabling it to serve as a command center and shelter for emergency management personnel, the mayor said.
Ing-Moody said the first phase of the Town Hall project would be construction of a vehicle parking facility at the Twisp water treatment plant property so that public works vehicles no longer have to be parked inside the Town Hall building.
Designs for Town Hall would be drawn while the public works facility is built. The new Town Hall would be constructed at the current location, Ing-Moody said.