Allen Oksui’s family has been in business on the Sammamish Plateau for 18 years, weathering the ups and downs of the national and local economies, stretching and growing as the once rural area has boomed and become and incorporated city. But now Oksui sees a threat to his business from the very city he grew up in.
“We don’t think we can co-exist with what would essentially be a $30 million athletic club” says the second generation president of Columbia Athletic Clubs.
The new facility he’s talking about would be built on city land. Sammamish would pay $25 million of the construction costs, and the city’s partner, The YMCA, would chip in $5 million. The “Y” would also pay to furnish the facility and would then be responsible for running it as a non-profit organization.
It’s just the latest version of plans for a Sammamish Community Center, a concept that has been kicking around on the plateau ever since incorporation. And it’s before voters in the form of “Proposition 1,” an advisory vote.
Supporter Suzanne Weaver, the treasurer for the committee pushing the idea, says this is much more than just another gym. It would include meeting rooms and public space and the city’s first public recreational pool..
“Sammamish is a growing city with a lot of families and we don’t have this kind of facility available to us," said Weaver.
Oksui calls the deal “unfair,” and says he may have to close his two health clubs in the area if the city voites to go ahead with the new facility.
“With the tax-exempt status that the ‘Y’ has it presents challenges for us to provide similar services.”
If the voters say yes in this advisory vote the Sammamish City Council will still have to finalize details of an operating agreement with the “Y” before taking an up-or-down vote on the issue. There’s no firm date set for that vote but the city’s spokesperson says it could happen early next year.