Through the Years–Kenmore City Hall
Kenmore City incorporation ceremony in front of the first makeshift City Hall. Jack Crawford, first mayor of Kenmore is speaking.
Kenmore’s First City Hall
Kenmore became Washington’s newest city on August 31, 1998, and began conducting its business in an empty storefront at 6524 NE 181st Street on the west end of Kenmore Village shopping center. Volunteers painted the interior and spruced up the restrooms. Council sessions were held in the nearby fire station auditorium.
Original City staff, including Steve Anderson, first City Manager of Kenmore.
Relocation to Wells Fargo Bank
One year later, Kenmore officials arranged with Wells Fargo Bank to acquire its former building, located in the same square as the previous City Hall location, and transformed it into City headquarters. The staff moved into the new City Hall on August 9, 1999, and City council began holding study sessions in the new location and regular meetings in a conference room at Northshore Utility District offices.
The second City Hall, which stands at 6700 NE 181st Street, now serves as Kenmore’s Post Office.
Relocation to Schnitzelbank Building
For a short time, City Hall was temporarily relocated to the upper level of the Schnitzelbank Building, located at 7330 Northeast Bothell Way. The Schnitzelbank building was constructed in 1926 to house the Chili Bowl Café. Over the years the building housed the Wishbone Inn and Thom-Wal’s Café. In 1961 the property was purchased by Bob and Hildegard McKisson, and Hildegard’s mother, Elizabeth “Oma” Poessinger. They changed it to a Bavarian-style restaurant with appropriate architecture, renaming it The Schnitzelbank, the German word for an old-fashioned wood-carving bench. Hand-carved window boxes adorned the front of the building and overflowed each year with bright flowers. In the late 1970s, a second story was added to the building–this is where the City carried on business until construction was complete on its current home.
The historic Schnitzelbank Building now houses Snapdoodle Toys, Kenmore Violins, and other local businesses.
A Permanent Home
In 2009, the City began construction of a new City Hall on a former Northshore Utilities District site. On May 22, 2010 the beautiful building, located at the corner 68th Avenue Northeast and 181st Avenue Northeast, opened for business.
The current Kenmore City Hall.
The new innovative City Hall facility includes Council Chambers, a community meeting room, City administration offices, an art gallery featuring works of local artists, and space within the building for future expansion. The building is an “essential facility” designed to a higher seismic performance than standard buildings, and includes emergency power generation. Additionally, the Council Chambers and Community Meeting Room serve as a resource to the residents of Kenmore for community and club events.
LEED Gold Standard
Reflecting the community’s interest in sustainable development, City Hall is one of Kenmore’s first projects developed under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards. Having earned a LEED standard gold rating, Kenmore City Hall features many elements that save energy and help the environment:
- solar panels reduce energy costs and increase energy independence
- energy efficient lighting, including natural daylighting, reduces energy requirements
- a vegetative roof provides additional insulation, reduces stormwater runoff, and protects the roof
- a rain garden
- use of green building materials throughout improves indoor air quality
- water-efficient plumbing fixtures minimize water usage and utility costs
- permeable paving minimizes stormwater run-off, increases on-site filtration, and reduces impervious surface, while recharging groundwater and reducing demands on the city’s stormwater infrastructure
Back to the Post Office Building?
With a nod to the past, the City began housing some of its Public Works maintenance staff in the back of the Post Office building when Lake Forest Park discontinued providing maintenance services for the City of Kenmore in 2019. The back side of the Post Office is a temporary location for the maintenance crew until a new Public Works Operations Center is constructed. (see below under “What’s Next for City Hall?”)
A New Skate Park
In October 2015, the property at the north end of City Hall was developed into a skatepark. The Jack V. Crawford skate court features picnic tables and approximately 5,200 square feet of skate-friendly terrain, which was designed as the result of great feedback and collaboration with residents and the skateboarding community.
The Jack V. Crawford Skate Court Park.
What’s Next for City Hall?
In recent years, the City has considered ideas for the next phase of the City Hall park to add to and compliment the skate court. This area is the space between the skate court and the rain garden. Half-court basketball, pickleball, a children’s play structure, art, and swings for teenagers have been among the ideas. The City has not identified funding for this next phase, nor has it yet engaged the community on what this next phase might look like or contain.
In response to growth and taking over Public Works maintenance from Lake Forest Park in 2019, the City has acquired several acres next to Kenmore Middle School for a new Public Operations Center. When completed, Public Works Operations and Surface Water Utility staff will move from City Hall to the new Public Works Operations Center.