By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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The official grieving period is coming to a close with the upcoming “Wake for the Rainforest Art Center,” a facility that was destroyed in an Oct. 29 fire that also leveled the former Dazzled by Twilight souvenir store next door at 11 N. Forks Ave.
The remembrance meeting will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Peninsula College's Forks facility at 71 S. Forks Ave., City Attorney-Planner Rod Fleck said.
“Then, we'll start a targeted set of stakeholder meetings about questions associated with rebuilding the building,” Fleck said.
“If the council was to rebuild the building, what are the components and attributes and functions of the building they want to see replaced, and what are other items or issues that they want to see that are involved with that?”
More than a dozen community leaders met Feb. 14 at City Hall to discuss a timeline for planning a new art center.
Attendees included Fleck, retired businessman Bert Paul, Forks Outfitters owner Bruce Paul, Realtor Carrol Lunsford and Quillayute Valley School District Superintendent Diana Reaume.
“What they seemed to indicate was strong community sentiment that the building should be replaced,” Fleck said.
Fleck said he hopes to update the City Council on preliminary plans for replacing the arts center at the council's regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the conference room at City Hall, 500 E. Division St.
Other planning meetings include a get-together for Rainforest Art Center stakeholders from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Peninsula College and a joint meeting of the Forks Chamber of Commerce and West End Business & Professional Association from noon to 2 p.m. March 13 at JT's Sweet Stuffs, 80 N. Forks Ave.
A general community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 26 at Peninsula College.
The city had insured the IOOF hall, out of which the Latino-themed La Tienda store also did business, for up to $3.7 million.
La Tienda has since reopened in the Almar Building in the 100 block of Bogachiel Way, Fleck said.
The valuation process should be completed and a replacement value established by mid-March, after which the City Council could decide on where a new art center would be built and what form it will take.
One option for consideration: The art center's footprint might include the former Dazzled by Twilight site, where the historic Olympic Pharmacy was located, and which is for sale for $74,500 under a listing by Forks Real Estate.
The property is assessed at $36,450, according to the Clallam County Assessor's Office.
“We have folks wanting us to consider the inclusion of that,” Fleck said Tuesday.
“We're just not there yet.
“How we determine all that is part of our challenge.”
Plans for a new building would be drawn up with the involvement of the University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and the UW's College of Architecture & Urban Planning, Fleck said.
Students would assist in developing “potential proposals associated with replacing a building with a sustainable wood building with a life of 80 to 100 years,” according to a written timeline supplied by Fleck.
The schedule envisions a “partnership with UW in their effort to create a product showcase and design standards for using Northwest lumber in multistory building construction.”
The design would “integrate art, media and similar subjects,” and include “multifunctional community space,” according to the timeline.
“Building will define, reflect our community,” it said.
“Imagine a 'New Forks' modern, rural town.”
Building plans would be developed by September and reviewed by the community by October, when the project would go out for bid.
The bid opening and award would be in January 2014.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.