Editorial: Redmond canyon house: problem or opportunity?


Published Mar 26, 2013 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

The City of Redmond's parks commission has a problem or an opportunity on its hands, depending on your viewpoint.

As it works to update planning for the city's Dry Canyon property, it must decide what to do with an old house on a piece of that property.

The city's master plan for the canyon, which runs for about four miles through town, was created in 1984, four years after voters approved zoning setting the canyon aside for parks and open space. Since then, the city has acquired much of the land within it. With those acquisitions, the city also took ownership of several small houses, most of which have been removed.

One has not, and now the city's parks commission is faced with having to decide what to do with it.

The small house is the oldest or one of the oldest structures in Redmond, built more than 100 years ago in 1906 or 1907. It has been a home and a one-room school, and it's been remodeled, even expanded, over the years. There are good historic reasons for wanting to save it, though perhaps not in its present location.

Problem is, the city has no money to move the building, and so far no one has been willing to do so themselves.

That may be because the cost of bringing the building up to snuff could run as much as $125,000, and moving would no doubt be expensive. Nor has anyone been willing to move into the building, fix it up and open it to the public in some way.

There's a natural reluctance on the part of the Redmond Historic Landmarks Commission to simply see the building torn down, but parks commissioner Gordon Wiseman is correct in suggesting that the parks group needs to decide what it does want.

If, in fact, the city remains unwilling to spend money on the structure, demolition may be the best bet. If so, the parks commission should choose a date by which it agrees the building must go. In the meantime, during Historic Preservation Month in May and perhaps even over the full summer, officials can continue to try to attract private dollars to a preservation project.

Even at this late date, someone may be willing to take the old building on.