City council considers renaming Justice Center and old City Hall

The city of Bonney Lake will be changing the names of its two flagship buildings soon.

As the city has moved its executive, legislative and judicial departments to the Justice Center and as it prepares to move its Public Works Department into the old City Hall on Bonney Lake Boulevard, city officials have recognized that the buildings' given names will no longer fully reflect their functions. The former city hall's name would no longer reflect its resident departments at all.

But what should the names become? At the conclusion of discussion during the Feb. 19 city council workshop, the legislative body settled on the Justice and Municipal Center for the Justice Center, and the Public Works Center for the old city hall. A survey of city employees found that "Public Works Center" was by far the most popular option for the old city hall.

"City Hall" was the most popular employee choice for the Justice Center, but some on the council were concerned about its incomplete accuracy, given the building's additional role as courthouse. The council noted there have still been a few people who have shown up for court dates at the old city hall building.

"I just wouldn't put a label on (the Justice Center) as City Hall," Councilman Donn Lewis said. "To me, that's not the best name for it to be officially named. Just because there's too much heartburn from people saying, 'Well, we didn't want a city hall, we didn't vote for a city hall, you shouldn't have built a city hall.' Well, you (referring to elected officials) turn around and try to say it's not a city hall, it's a municipal center with justice and we built it for the justice center. And then they look at it and it says City Hall on it…

"It doesn't really matter in the end. People will still call it the city hall (informally)."

Responses to the city survey were varied, and one agreed with the sentiment that the Justice Center should more accurately reflect its comprehensive services.

"The name needs to reflect the use in order to properly serve the citizens," read the anonymous comment. "Justice Center excludes the majority (of) uses. Many courts are contained within a city hall, as it has been for most of the City's life … The name clearly should be City Hall, or Municipal Building."

A few other comments lamented the idea of a name change.

"Again with the expense to change signage?" read a Jan. 10 comment. "It's a BAD idea. It's the Justice center - Clearly!"

Other comments noted that a name change would involve financial costs in altering street signs and forms, and labor costs in submitting the change to online search engines.

"In my opinion the name should stay the same," read another comment. "The city has paid for information signs on 410 already indicating Justice Center. There has been lots of negative comments from citizens over the name change of the Old buckley highway [sic] because of the costs to the city … This is ridiculous and seems like a total waste of money!!!!!

"During this time of budget cuts and contract issues does this even seem appropriate to consider this?"

Still others took a tongue-in-cheek approach, using the comments to tender write-in name suggestions, such as the "Big Red Barn" for the Justice Center and the "Trailer Without Wheels" for the old city hall.

The name changes were not put on the agenda for the Feb. 26 regular council meeting.

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