In response to your article, “Old Nokomis Building may find a new home in Redmond,” which appeared in last week’s issue (July 10), neither myself nor any member of the Nokomis Club participated in any discussion or decision to move the building elsewhere. Although at my own initiative in February 2014, I spoke with Bart Phillips, CEO of One Redmond, the purported owner of the Nokomis Building and twice with Redmond ‘s Historic Preservation Officer. No further conversations with any city official about the Nokomis Building, Redmond’s first library building, ever took place.
The mayor, acting on his own volition, convened an exclusive meeting on June 29th with two representatives of the Redmond Historical Society. On July 7th, a staff report the mayor had requested was delivered to the city council, who then voted to move the building away from Redmond’s historic downtown. The council meeting was held just two days before the Nokomis Club appeal began in protest of the city’s decision to allow the demolition of the Nokomis Building.
The council’s decision to move the building far from the original location that made it important jeopardizes its eligibilty as a nationally registered historic place according to Greg Griffith, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation. The Nokomis Building has been eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places for 17 years. Because historic preservation is a national program administered by the Federal Department of the Interior, the Nokomis Building’s status gives it the same protection against adverse conditions, such as relocation, as a nationally registered historic place.
Since there has been absolutely no discussion with me about the building disposition by any city official, the Nokomis Club has never negotiated or agreed to any financial arrangement regarding relocation. In fact,the City of Redmond’s adopted Comprehensive Plan states in policy CC-30: “Acquire historic properties when feasible.”
The property, once the back garden of Irene and Alfred Brown’s home, was donated specifically for Redmond’s first library building. The site is as significant as the building itself.
Let’s save the Nokomis Building for community use as the women of the Nokomis Club of Redmond have long desired.
President, Nokomis Club of Redmond
Nokomis Club of Redmond needs to raise approximately $25-$50,000 in order to pay for legal fees and representation as they appeal the decision to deny the historic significance of the Nokomis building in Redmond. The hearing appealing the City of Redmond’s “Decision of Non-Significance” was held July 9th and 10th. We are awaiting a decision on the appeal.
A separate appeal has been filed regarding the EPA’s classification of the building.
If you are interested in helping with their fight, please consider donating funds via PayPal on the Nokomis Club website or through their Crowdrise site (both listed below).
Contact the Redmond Nokomis Club:
Nokomis Club of Redmond
P.O. Box 7012
Bellevue, WA 98008-1012