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Equestrian theme gets council OK

By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald

After mulling the notion for two years - while listening to the advice of paid consultants and hearing the heartfelt pleas of local horse fanciers - Enumclaw leaders have officially branded the city with an equestrian theme.

The move was made official Feb. 26 by virtue of a unanimous vote of the seven-member Enumclaw City Council. The outcome was anticipated, as council chambers looked as barn-like as a City Hall can get, decorated with a hay bale, saddle, boots, bandannas and more.

The resolution getting the council OK notes that Enumclaw “shall use an equestrian theme in the development of all city signage and other devices, such as logos, used to identify the city.”

The council resolution notes that the equestrian theme is meant to increase tourism and enhance community identity, both of which are means to bring additional dollars to town and boost revenues for local merchants.

Mayor John Wise and City Administrator Mark Bauer said the equestrian theme will be unveiled during a March 24 open house at the Enumclaw Expo Center (previously the King County Fairgrounds).

Bauer said the first priority will be to incorporate the theme in new signs that will direct visitors to destinations like City Hall, the hospital, police station and schools.

Wise said an important element will be some type of monument sign that will serve as a “welcome to Enumclaw.” The design work for such a project could be accomplished this year, Wise said, although construction money isn't in the 2007 budget.

One thing not addressed in last week's resolution is the real hot-button issue surrounding the city and its lean toward all things equestrian: namely, what to do with the Expo Center. One consultant has recommended the city turn it into center for horse fanciers of all disciplines; another consultant warned against doing too much, too soon. During public hearings, local horse aficionados have been adamant that there's sufficient interest to make a first-rate equestrian center financially feasible.

Bauer said more work needs to be done before city officials can choose a course of action. No timeline has been established, he said, but the hope is to have necessary studies completed within the next six months.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com.

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