Central Park could get turf field

October 1, 2008

By Jim Feehan

A multipurpose sports field complex in the Issaquah Highlands could be a step closer to realityafter the state Recreation and Conservation Funding Board approved a grant request for the $500,000 project.The state agency also approved a $1 million grant application for the creation of a new 15-acre park downtown, $450,000 for protecting Squak Valley Park creek sides, $2 million for building the East Lake Sammamish Trail, $2 million for developing the Issaquah segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail and $510,000 for expanding Grand Ridge Park.

“Getting a turf field at Central Park will help the recreational needs of football, lacrosse and soccer enthusiasts who have been advocating for this facility for years,” said Margaret Macleod, an Issaquah park planner.

The city would use the grant to install two artificial turf fields with lights in Central Park. The city’s grass fields are overused by ever growing soccer, lacrosse and youth football programs. The Central Park field is in poor condition because of poor drainage rotting the natural grass. This year, the field was swampy and unusable. The city would use $2,045,000 in cash, voter-approved bonds and cash donations.

Grant funding was also approved to buy a 3.5-acre parcel at the confluence of the main stem and east fork of Issaquah Creek in old town Issaquah. The land is surrounded by other city-owned land, that when combined with this purchase, will create a 15-acre community park. The landowner has asked that this portion of the park be named after his grandfather, Tolle Anderson. The city plans to design the park to highlight Issaquah Creek. The city will contribute $1 million in voter-approved bonds and conservation futures.

“Tolle is the missing piece in the puzzle that will help fill the gap and be the crown jewel in our park system,” Mcleod said.

Issaquah will use the $450,000 grant funding to buy 2 acres of undeveloped land for conservation easements on another 1.5 acres on the west bank of Issaquah Creek to protect an important riparian corridor from residential development, Macleod said.

The land then would be included in a restoration project, now in the planning stage, that will reconnect Issaquah Creek with its historical floodplain by removing parts of a levee that runs parallel to the east bank that would improve the creek’s habitat values, which were damaged by levee construction and channel straightening in the 1930s. The city will contribute $962,000 in cash, conservation futures, labor, a local grant and donated labor.

Grant funding was also approved to build the Redmond segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail, the first phase of an 11-mile regional trail on a former rail corridor that runs along the Lake Sammamish shoreline and links Redmond and Sammamish with Issaquah and Marymoor Park and Lake Sammamish State Park at either end. This phase will develop the northern segment of the trial from the Bear Creek Trail at Redmond Town Center, then alongside Marymoor Park and the lake to about 187th Northeast, a distance of about 1.3 miles.

The trail will include a 12-foot-wide paved surface with a parallel soft-surface trail. Work will include building parking for about 44

cars and installing signs, landscaping and other trail amenities. This major regional corridor and missing link in the county’s regional trail system will provide access to numerous other trails in the system, allowing users to travel between Seattle and Issaquah and beyond. The county will contribute $2,029,929 from a voter-approved levy.

In addition, the Issaquah segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail

King County received $2 million in grant funding. The county will develop parallel paved and soft-surface trails along the southern segment of the corridor that borders the state park running from

Gilman Boulevard in Issaquah north to Southeast 43rd Street, a distance of about 2 miles.

At the north end, this segment links with the partially developed East Plateau Trail, to the south with the Rainier Greenway Trail, and to the east with the Issaquah-Preston Trail, which will link with Preston and on to the Preston-Snoqualmie and Snoqualmie Valley trails. King County will contribute $2,487,842 from a voter-approved levy.

About $500,000 in grants will be used to buy about 75 acres of forest to expand Grand Ridge Park, a 1,200-acre undeveloped park adjacent to the county’s 400-acre Mitchell Hill Forest and connected to the West Tiger Mountain Natural Resources Conservation Area, Tiger Mountain State Forest and Taylor Mountain County Forest.

Buying the forested land would protect habitat and migration areas for wildlife species, including black bears, cougars, bobcats, bald eagles, pileated woodpeckers and mussels. The property contains about eight-tenths of a mile of both sides of Canyon Creek and about three-tenths of a mile of a tributary. Canyon Creek supports chinook, which is threatened with extinction, and steelhead, chum and coho salmon, and cutthroat trout. The county will contribute

$1,700,000 in conservation futures and a voter-approved levy.

Last week, the state board approved $100 million in requests for recreation and wildlife projects around the state. The projects to build parks and trails, and protect disappearing farmland and wildlife habitat will be forwarded to the governor’s office as a capital budget request when the Legislature convenes in January.

Reach Reporter Jim Feehan at 392-6434, ext. 239, or jfeehan@isspress.com.

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