By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
MONROE — The city reached a deal this week with a private business to build and operate a wakeboarding park at the south end of Lake Tye.
The Monroe City Council voted 5-2 to approve an agreement with H3O Development to build the project at the park at 14964 Fryelands Blvd.
“It’s going to put Monroe on the map,” said Josh Decker, who lives in Monroe and who attended the meeting Tuesday night.
H3O wants to build eight lattice towers connected by cables on the south end of Lake Tye. The cables would pull wakeboarders around the lake without the need of a boat.
Under the proposed agreement, the city would lease the park to H3O for 10 years, with the potential to extend it another 15 years.
H3O would then pay a fixed amount, $12,000, and 2 percent of total sales to the city as rent during the first year. The fixed amount would increase to $18,000 the second year, and to $24,000 after that.
The city projects at least $1.4 million in revenue for the 25 years, economic development manager Jeff Sax said.
The wakeboarding facility has been a divisive issue in the community with dozens of people speaking at council meetings since the idea first surfaced last year.
Opponents argued the facility would disrupt other park activities and that the city is not getting enough from the deal.
Councilwoman Patsy Cudaback voted against it because she believes the wakeboarding park does not fit with Lake Tye and H30 has no track record of managing these kind of facilities. Councilman Ed Davis agreed Lake Tye was not the right place for the facility.
“It seems like putting a wakeboarding park in my living room, and I have a different plan for my living room,” Davis said.
But others — both people who live in Monroe and who live outside the city — urged the council to approve the deal, saying it would offer more to do at the lake, generate revenue and provide something for youths to do outdoors.
“I can’t buy that the park will be ruined if we put a wakeboarding facility,” Councilman Tom Williams said.
Williams and councilmen Kurt Goering, Kevin Hanford, Jim Kamp and Jason Gamble voted in favor of the project. With this vote, the Sammamish-based company can move forward in applying for permits and going through the environmental review process, manager Brad Smith said.
Construction is planned to start in the fall with the goal of opening it by June 2013.
There are some details that still need to be ironed out including lighting of the lattice towers, how to handle the park after-hours and how many days the park would need to be closed so the lake can be used for other city’s activities. These details are scheduled to be discussed as early as next week or the first July meeting, Sax said.
Monroe resident Trish Lautensleger has opposed the wakeboarding park. She was not surprised by the council’s decision.
“They had their mind made up,” she said. “We have to accept it, but we don’t have to like it.”
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez @heraldnet.com.