Sammamish explores taking over Klahanie Park

September 15, 2009

By J.B. Wogan

Sammamish City Councilwoman Kathy Huckabay has suggested that Sammamish take over Klahanie Park.Huckabay made the comment during the Sept. 1 City Council meeting, asking Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici to look into the matter further.

The park sits in unincorporated King County, south of Issaquah-Beaver Lake Road. In order for it to become available for a takeover, the King County Council would have to mothball it, as King County Executive Kurt Triplett proposed Aug. 17. Triplett said closing or transferring 39 parks would save the county $2.3 million each year.

The King County Council is scheduled to make a decision on Triplett’s proposal in November, when it votes on the county budget.

Sammamish would not have first priority in taking over the park. The city of Issaquah would have to pass on it first, since it’s in Issaquah’s potential annexation area.

But all parties involved seem open to the scenario.

Kevin Brown, parks and recreation director for King County, said the Sammamish proposal is feasible.

“I don’t see any real obstacles,” he said. “Athletic fields in particular are hard to come by in this area. I think there is a real desire to take on the park for that reason.”

Sammamish Parks Director Jessi Richardson said she has talked to Brown about Huckabay’s proposal.

“Obviously, we want to keep parks open. That’s one of our goals as a city,” she said. “I’ll be waiting for direction internally.”

Issaquah City Administrator Leon Kos said such a scenario seemed possible to him as well.

“We’re clearly interested and concerned. I think that some type of resolution to keep it open is critical,” Kos said.

He added that it might make more sense for Sammamish to take over Klahanie Park, since it sits on the edge of Sammamish’s southeast city limit.

The Klahanie Association community might also approve of a Sammamish takeover, manager James Tripp said.

“We would absolutely be supportive of somebody else taking it over,” he said.

Tripp said the park was meant to be run by a public agency and if Issaquah or Sammamish could operate and maintain it, they should.

Brown said the park was built in the early 1990s and the annual overhead cost for the park is $95,000. The park is 64.11 acres with one baseball field, two soccer fields and a restroom. The fields are natural grass and are not lighted.

The idea has already gained traction with some Sammamish residents.

Frank Blau, who lives by Beaver Lake Park, told the council Sept. 8 that he would like Sammamish to take over the park. Blau’s reasoning was that Klahanie Park would be better suited to accommodate synthetic turf fields and night lights — two features under discussion for renovations at Beaver Lake Park.

J.B. Wogan: 392-6434, ext. 247, or jbwogan@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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