Lynnwood City Council considering increase in city lodging fee for new multi-use, recreational facility

(Left to right) Snohomish County Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department Director Tom Teigen, Sports Commission Sports Development Director Tammy Dunn and Regional Tourism Promotion Coordinator Rich Huebner.

Lynnwood officials are considering an increase in the city’s lodging fee to help fund an indoor, multi-use recreational facility for Snohomish County.

At its Sept. 30 work session, the Lynnwood City Council heard a proposal from Snohomish County Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism representatives to amend the Interlocal Agreement that established the Snohomish County Tourism Promotion Area (TPA) assessment. Lynnwood’s TPA assessment is a $1 fee paid per night by hotel customers. The proposed amendment would increase the fee to $2.

Of the county’s eight tourism promotion boards, six charge a $2 TPA assessment and one charges $1.50, while Lynnwood is the only city to charge $1. Additionally, Lynnwood generates more money from its lodging tax than any other city in the county.

“In general, there’s a lot of support for the dollar,” said Snohomish County Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department Director Tom Teigen.

According to the proposal, the fee increase would help to fund a potential 68,000-square-foot, indoor recreational facility to promote tourism in the area during the off-season. The flat-floor, multi-use facility would accommodate basketball, volleyball, wrestling, cheerleading and other competitions, Teigen said.

Regional Tourism Promotion Coordinator Rich Huebner said it would be a “unique facility that we don’t currently have.” The venue would be available for regional and national events on weekends and accommodate other local clubs or sports during the week, he said.

The location for the facility is yet to be determined. However, Teigen said the county is looking at eight potential sites, including Kasch Park Athletic Complex in Everett. Two other possibilities include the Evergreen State Fairgrounds and a south Everett city-owned location.

Lynnwood City Councilmember Shannon Sessions

With Lynnwood Link light rail coming to the city in 2024 and the recent addition of commercial flights to Paine Field, Lynnwood would stand to benefit most from the facility being built at Kasch Park, said Councilmember Shannon Sessions. However, if another location is chosen to house the facility, the city would still benefit from visitors staying at Lynnwood lodging to use the facility, she added.

Additionally, Sessions — who serves on the city’s Tourism Advisory Board — stressed that the fee increase is not a tax on Lynnwood residents.

“This is adding money to (the city) if you’re staying in our hotels,” she said.

Sessions went on to say that the new facility would meet a high demand for volleyball and cheerleading competitions, which can rarely find adequate spaces.

A resolution regarding the assessment fee increase will be presented to the council for adoption at its Oct. 8 business meeting.

In other business, the council received a briefing on the results of the City’s 2018 Financial Statements Audit conducted by the State Auditor’s Office. The audit resulted in a clean opinion of the city’s financial statements.

Also, the council held three interviews for Positions No. 2 and 3 on the Lynnwood Public Facilities District Board. Candidates vying for the positions include Shawn Walker and Peter Zink for Position No. 2 and Mary Monroe and Loren Simmonds for Position No. 3.

–Story and photos Cody Sexton

  1. Rather see affordable housing built for the homeless families. How is Rodeo Inn going for the homeless families? Haven’t seen anything more on it since last May.

    1. Hi Nancy, the Lodging fee collects tourism promotion dollars from those that are already visiting our communities then takes those dollars to build a facility that promotes additional travel to our county. The end result is more tax revenue for the county, which is good for everyone. While tourism dollars can’t be spent on affordable housing, this increase that doesn’t affect locals, ultimately can benefit them…

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