Rainforest Players offer for RAC lot, get ‘ridiculous’ counter

By Joe Smillie, Forum Editor


The West Olympic Council for the Arts, together with the Rainforest Players, announced last week they had made an offer to purchase a lot to help expand the new Rainforest Arts Center.


The counter received, however, was not close to their value of the property, said Warren Brown, board member for the Rainforest Players.


Brown reported last Thursday the group offered $35,000 to buy the lot on the corner of Division Street and Forks Avenue from Alaska Financial Services, who bought the lot after it was foreclosed from Dazzled by Twilight.


Brown said the group offered and received a counter offer of $71,000


“We’ve got enough to do it, but that’s a ridiculous price,” Brown said.


It was listed by Forks Avenue Real Estate for sale at $74,500.


The building formerly housed the Olympic Pharmacy and later the Fern Gallery and Dazzled By Twilight.


The structure burned down in a fire on Oct. 29, 2012.


“If we are successful in purchasing the land, our intent is to gift the land to the City of Forks,” said Steve Kriebel, Rainforest Players treasurer.


The offer is contingent on the Forks City Council being willing to accept the lot as a gift, Brown reported.


“We’ll probably begin discussions about an acquisition if (the players) are going to pursue that,” City Planner/Attorney Rod Fleck said.


The city council in May agreed to rebuild a new arts center at its former location.


In July, the council selected architecture firm NAC of Seattle to design the new building. Ten firms vied for the design job.


Fleck said the city plans to have three potential designs for the new building ready to unveil at the annual Harvest Dinner during Homecoming on Sept. 27, meaning the city would have to know soon how or if it will incorporate this lot in the building’s design.


“We do have a timeline,” Fleck said.


The money to purchase the land comes from the funds remaining in the Rainforest Art Center account and a recently received insurance settlement for the contents lost in the fire, Brown said.


“We lost everything we owned in the fire,” said longtime Rainforest Players director Lela Kriebel. “Years and years of props, sets, costumes, theatrical lighting and equipment all went up in flame. It was heartbreaking.”


Lunsford Real Estate agent Don Grafstrom, who represents WOCA and the Rainforest Players in the offer, indicated Lunsford Real Estate employees plan to waive their commission.


“The Rainforest Players and WOCA appreciate the employees of Lunsford Real Estate in their willingness to represent us and to donate their commission to this transaction,” Brown said.


The Rainforest Players are busily rehearsing their next production, a dramatic reading of the comedy “Mr. Pim Passes By,” by A.A. Milne. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 29-31, in the Washington State Department of Natural Resources conference room.


Donations to help in purchasing the Olympic Pharmacy lot and to replace the furnishings and equipment lost in the fire can be dropped off at the Forks branch of First Federal or mailed to the Rainforest Players at PO Box 2271, Forks, WA 98331.

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