City smoothes once-bumpy Central Park entrance

November 1, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

The cratered parking lot at Central Park’s popular artificial turf fields is gone, replaced by a special — and smoother — pavement to allow rainwater to percolate through the lot and into the ground.

Crews completed the 163-stall parking lot in late summer, and city officials gathered to open the space Sept. 26.

The parking lot upgrade is the latest addition to the area, called Pad 3. The city installed artificial turf, using a donation from the Issaquah Soccer Club and a state grant, and lights, using dollars left over from the turf installation, at the site in earlier phases.

The rough lot, left unimproved as the projects proceeded, sometimes raised ire among park users. City residents and other park users unleashed a phone and email bombardment last year to alert Mayor Ava Frisinger and other city officials about the problem.

The plan to upgrade the lot, however, needed dollars to proceed. The city later received a $316,500 state Department of Ecology low-impact development grant to install pervious pavement at the site. City Council members authorized up to $606,500 in June to complete the project.

“I began replying to people that indeed we had applied for a Department of Ecology grant and were really aggressively pursuing that,” Frisinger said. “Then, once we received the grant, I said, ‘Hey, we have a grant and we will be doing this.’”

Crews installed about 66,000 square feet — or 1.5 acres — of pervious asphalt, plus a rain garden to filter excess stormwater. The permeable surface limits the amount of runoff from the paved area discharging into local streams, city Surface Water Manager Kerry Ritland said.

The next phase in the Pad 3 project is a restroom. Officials said the facility should be installed later in the fall.

“Our parking has more than doubled, we don’t have the potholes anymore and the whole parking lot is lit all the way up to the main drag,” city Recreation Manager Brian Berntsen said. “There’s better lighting, more and better parking, and easier access routes for people.”

Users called for artificial turf fields as top priority, followed by lighting, parking and restrooms. Berntsen said future phases could include a tot lot or a picnic shelter if funding is available.

Sammamish Plateau resident Brian Sullivan often heads to the park so his children can participate in lacrosse and soccer leagues.

“These potholes were huge,” he said. “I’d kind of chuckle as I’d watch people in these brand-new cars creep through the parking lot. Not to mention, when you get out, it’s mud. Then, you’ve got people tracking this mud into their cars and onto the turf field.”

Now, however, the repaved lot is a major improvement for park users, he added.

“I think it turned out fantastic,” Sullivan said.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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