Planners envision downtown park as ‘crown jewel’
November 17, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
Almost 16 acres in downtown Issaquah will be transformed into walking paths and picnic areas, near where Issaquah Creek and the East Fork meet. The area encompasses three contiguous parks: Cybil-Madeline Park, Tollë Anderson Park and Issaquah Creek Park. City officials dubbed the area near the confluence of the creeks as the “crown jewel” of the municipal park system.When work on the park complex is completed early in the next decade, officials envision a place for respite and recreation at the wooded site.
“You feel like you’re so close to nature and then you realize how close you are to downtown,” city Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill said.
Money from a park bond approved by Issaquah voters in November 2006 will be used to complete the initial phase of the project. The first step will occur in January, when city officials send out a request to landscape architecture firms interested in the project. City Parks Planner Margaret Macleod said parks staffers, a city Park Board member and a city Public Works Engineering staffer would be part of the evaluation team that chooses the architect.
Officials will then make a master site plan for the park complex. Throughout the yearlong planning process, parks planners will seek public input about the features residents want. But geography and preservation requirements will limit the park to passive recreation, such as walking trails.
Macleod said planning for the park complex would be a methodical process.
“We hope for it to be like our crown jewel of our parks system,” Macleod said. “So, there’s a lot of importance to it.”
McGill said she envisions the Issaquah Creek complex as a small-scale version of sweeping Forest Park in Portland or Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia.
What elements the park complex will include will be decided during the planning process. Picking a name for the park complex will be the final piece.
The mayor will form a committee — made up of residents and representatives from civic groups — to suggest official names for the park. Members will submit name possibilities to the mayor, who will then whittle the suggestions and send the City Council a final list for approval.
The names of Cybil-Madeline Park and Tollë Anderson Park must be kept under the agreements by which the city acquired the properties.
McGill said a possible moniker could be taken out of contention now: Confluence Park. The name is already used by other Evergreen State parks.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.