Special needs clinic for kids fights Sound Transit plans

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:

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BELLEVUE, Wash. —

A Bellevue therapy clinic that helps children with special needs is fighting Sound Transit's proposal for a new facility.

Heidi Dawson said her two sons, Patrick and TJ, have been attending MOSAIC Children's Therapy Clinic in Bellevue for more than a year.

"Your heart just bursts with excitement," she said of their progress.

Patrick, 7, has a sensory processing disorder, and needs help with fine motor skills and anxiety issues.

TJ, 4, receives speech therapy.

But now a new project could force the clinic to close its doors.

"It's going to be absolutely devastating for him if we have to find someplace else," Dawson said. "Special needs kids are very much about routine."

Sound Transit wants to build a second maintenance facility to support its current one in SoDo.

The existing facility is enough for now, but when the agency expands service to Lynnwood and Bellevue in coming years, it won't be able to handle the additional vehicles.

It's looking at three sites and can use eminent domain at any of them, though officials said they always try to work with businesses first. The facility will cost anywhere from $350 to $415 million, depending on the site.

In Lynnwood the site would disrupt plans for a school building and force out more than a dozen businesses.

One site in Bellevue, with two possible designs, is in a more industrial area.

But the other site in Bellevue would eliminate 100 businesses, including MOSAIC.

The clinic's president, Andrea Duffield, said they spent a lot of money installing specially padded floors.

She said the site was a difficult one to find because it has both green space and parking away from the street, while still being located in Bellevue.

"It would cost us several hundred thousand dollars to be able to move and we don't have those reserves to be able to do that," Duffield said.

But Sound Transit spokesperson Bruce Gray told KIRO 7 that the agency would cover moving expenses and thousands more.

"There's federal guidelines that put caps at about $50,000 on top of moving expenses," Gray said.

He said Sound Transit has relocation experts that work with each business to assess needs and help each find a comparable relocation site.

Sound Transit is scheduled to choose a preferred site in July. It will study that further and make a final decision in 2015.