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Plans for Mercer Island Thrift Shop expansion move ahead

This drawing by Mercer Island city staff shows the second version of a design to expand the Youth and Family Services Thrift Shop and to deal with congestion caused by shoppers and donation drop-offs at S.E. 32nd Street and 78th Avenue S.E. The city hopes to bring in even more money from the successful shop in order to fully fund the city’s YFS Department. - City of Mercer Island/Contributed Art
This drawing by Mercer Island city staff shows the second version of a design to expand the Youth and Family Services Thrift Shop and to deal with congestion caused by shoppers and donation drop-offs at S.E. 32nd Street and 78th Avenue S.E. The city hopes to bring in even more money from the successful shop in order to fully fund the city’s YFS Department.
— image credit: City of Mercer Island/Contributed Art

At a planning session held Monday night, the City Council saw the next version of a design of a remodel for the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Thrift store.

The idea is to expand and enhance the highly successful thrift store in order to eventually fully fund the city’s Youth and Family Services department with the proceeds. YFS is still partially funded through the city’s General Fund. The store brings in more than $1 million each year.

At a June planning session, the Council reviewed a pre-design for a remodel and expansion of the shop, housed in a building that used to be a neighborhood pool.

At that time, Councilmembers suggested a variety of changes to the initial design. Councilmembers generally agreed that while the purpose and design were good, it needed to be scaled back to keep costs low and to minimize impact on Mercerdale Park and the children’s play area there.

Changes were made to the design presented on Monday evening, after Reporter deadline, to reduce costs, limit the size of the addition, and change the configuration of the approach to a new donation drop-off area. Issues concerning parking were also part of the discussion about the impact of an enlarged store. City planners added more parking spots in this version of the design.

In summary:

• The estimated project cost has been reduced from $2.55 million to $1.56 million.

• The proposed addition has been scaled back to 2,000 square feet from an original 2,500 square feet.

• The proposed donation drop-off on 78th Avenue S.E. has been revised and shortened.

• The existing parking area would be expanded to provide room for 69 vehicles. This is 35 stalls more than the existing parking lot.

The project would be financed by borrowing about $1 million. Another $550,000 would come from available cash from the city.

Some of the money to expand the parking lot could come from the ‘Beautification Fund,’ said Finance Director Chip Corder, who said that expanded parking will benefit park users.

The city also plans to reach out to the Mercerdale neighborhood about the expansion plans.

If all goes according to plan, construction could start next summer.

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