Plans for new Lacamas Lake Lodge move forward

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The first signs foreshadowing the future construction of a new recreation facility in Camas were visible Friday.

That day, crews from the City of Camas and Ballard Diving and Salvage worked to remove the rickety, decades-old wooden dock that sat on Lacamas Lake in front of the city owned building formerly occupied by the Camas Moose. It was a step forward in a project that will ultimately result in construction of Lacamas Lake Lodge and Conference Center at 227 N.E. Lake Road.

“It makes you realize something is happening when you see logs being dragged through the parking lot,” commented Camas Mayor Scott Higgins during last night’s City Council workshop. “It’s going to be a fun project.”

Included in the $1.9 million price tag is an $842,000, 5,000 square foot building that will consist of a large event space, two smaller meeting rooms, office space, kitchen, restrooms, storage, large covered patio and a 60-foot long dock. The facility, which will be located adjacent to Heritage Park, will also feature a fireplace and vaulted ceilings, with large windows to take advantage of the lake views.

“On the south bank of Lacamas Lake, in the center of the ‘Lacamas Corridor’ of public park, recreation, trail and open spaces, the center will be constructed,” the city’s 2013 budget message states. “In this beautiful setting, a modern, yet compatible structure will be built. It is foreseen as the first and vital step in a longer range vision of community center/facilities in the Lacamas Corridor.”

Funding for the project will come from two sources, including a 10-year, $1.55 million, 3 percent interest loan from the State of Washington LOCAL program. Payments, approximately $180,000 per year, will be made from the city’s Growth Management Capital Facilities Fund using parks and open space impact fees and real estate excise taxes.

The remaining $350,000 is being provided by the Friends of the Camas Community Center, money that was gifted to the non-profit more than a decade ago through the estate of the late Christine Kropp.

Operating costs for the new facility are expected to be $60,000 per year. Approximately $17,500 has been set aside for this expense in the 2013 budget.

Higgins said current plans call for the former Moose Lodge building to be razed by Camas city work crews during the first week in April. The call for bids for the new facility will be made in late April, followed by awarding of the contract in May. Construction will take place starting in June, and the Lacamas Lake Lodge and Conference Center is expected to open to the public in early 2014.