New community center, new start

By Kevin Stoltz Mukilteo City Councilmember | Feb 09, 2011

Saturday was the grand opening of the new Rosehill Community Center. After years of controversy, difficult decisions, and financial challenges, Mukilteo has a beautiful new community center that our community can be proud of.

There was a wonderful turn out on Feb. 5, and the new center fosters not only breathtaking views, but also a comfortable environment for community social interaction.

On Saturday, the new center truly was a community meeting place and a great opportunity to talk with new friends and old. Even a pod of Orcas made two separate appearances to celebrate the opening.

If you weren’t able to attend the grand opening and open house on Saturday, be sure to stop by and enjoy your new community center.

The current hours of operation are Monday-Thursday 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

And if you can’t stop by when it’s open, the balcony is always accessible where you can enjoy the views.

Now that the new Rosehill Community Center is open, it’s time to really focus on how this community asset can be best used to benefit the community.

The first thing that needs to be done is to extend the hours on Friday, Saturday, and be open on Sundays; the time when those of us who have to work a traditional work week will have the greatest opportunity to enjoy it.

The argument used and defended vigorously for the limited hours has been strictly a financial one. The rational and thinking to date has been confined to a very small box.

As a council member, I’ve been very vocal when it comes to making decisions that financially overextend the city. I also think it’s safe to say the council is very aware of how financially strapped the city currently is.

However, I’m also a very ‘out of the box’ type thinker and I know we could and should have extended community center hours for the community without spending more money.

Simply put, stagger the shifts.

At the old community center the office closed at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday but the community center was open until 9 p.m. and staffed by a facility attendant who was paid for out of the Public Works budget.

That position is still there even though it doesn’t show up in the community center staffing chart, and by looking back just a bit, your community center can be open late Fridays, Saturdays, and open on Sundays without the city spending any additional money.

I also need to apologize to Mayor Joe Marine for my statements in a recent letter, which promoted a rumor that he had decided to keep the community center open on Saturdays after receiving many complaints.

As it turns out, the mayor never had discussions indicating the community center would be closed on Saturdays and didn’t receive complaints indicating so. Instead it was one of his staff who had told the Jazzercise franchise owner the community center wouldn’t be open on Saturdays because of a staff position that was cut by the council.

The staff member admitted to providing incorrect information at a recent council meeting but not to deflecting the misrepresentation of information to the mayor.

Simply put, staff shouldn’t be allowed to play politics to get their way. We rely on them for their professional experience, not political games. It creates friction in places where there needn’t be any.

We did have a recent council meeting where the community center position previously cut was reinstated by the council. Unfortunately, three of the council members were absent, so my motion to have staff come back to us with a way to extend the community center operating hours didn’t even receive a second.

However, moving forward with the full council, I'm confident we can provide community center hours for the community.

The preceding feature is published the second Wednesday of each month for The Beacon and is the opinion of Kevin Stoltz and may or may not represent the views of the Mukilteo City Council.

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