Landscape architect hopes outreach shapes city parks

August 17, 2010

The downtown parks strung along Issaquah Creek might not include a soccer field or a baseball diamond, but the former farmsteads could be a hub for lessons about local history and creekside ecology.

Map by Dona Mokin

The city and the landscape architect start the planning process for the parks next week, during a picnic at the 15.5-acre site. Planners hope the suppertime gathering affords residents a chance to explore the parks — Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek — peer inside old farmhouses and observe squirrels darting up trees and ducks bobbing in the creek.

Though preservation rules and limits on creekside construction shape how the park can be developed, landscape architect Guy Michaelsen said he hopes the setting inspires the picnickers to offer creative ideas.

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City hosts park-planning picnic

August 10, 2010

Bring ideas to free Aug. 26 event

Head outside, grab a hot dog and offer ideas about the latest addition to the city parks system.

The city Parks & Recreation Department will host a picnic Aug. 26 for residents to share ideas about the downtown parks at the confluence of Issaquah Creek and the East Fork: Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks.

The parks department planned the picnic for the 15.5-acre site in order for people to understand the terrain.

“We want people to see the land, walk the land, see the farmhouses and walk the creek to get a sense of it,” city Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill said.

The city maintains the historic Anderson and Ek farmhouses and farm buildings at the parks site. Read more

Bring ideas for Issaquah Creek-side parks to Aug. 26 picnic

August 7, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 7, 2010

Head outside, grab a hot dog and offer ideas about the latest addition to the city parks system.

The city Parks & Recreation Department will host a picnic Aug. 26 for residents to share ideas about the downtown parks at the confluence of Issaquah Creek and the East Fork: Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks.

Gather at 595 Rainier Blvd. N. for the 5 p.m. picnic. The program — held on land set aside for the parks complex — starts at 6 p.m.

The city plans to spend up to $1.6 million to complete the plan and build the initial phase. Issaquah voters approved money to develop the parks in a 2006 bond.

Issaquah Parks & Recreation officials picked Seattle landscape architecture firm The Berger Partnership in late May. The firm also designed Cal Anderson Park and Warren G. Magnuson Park in Seattle.

Guy Michaelsen, principal at The Berger Partnership, outlined some initial ideas for the park during a June presentation to the City Council.

Picnic to kick off idea fest for creek park

July 6, 2010

Architect pledges to listen to all

The landscape architect hired to design a city parks complex along Issaquah Creek plans to ask residents about their ideas for the site during a picnic at the creekside site.

The late August picnic launches a monthslong process to shape the downtown parks at the confluence of Issaquah Creek and the East Fork.

Guy Michaelsen, principal at The Berger Partnership, a Seattle firm, said the parks should be flexible for many users, and a destination for residents from throughout the city.

“It is your Central Park — I know you have a Central Park — but this one will be really central,” he said during a June 29 presentation to the City Council. “This will be your central, central park.”

The city hired Michaelsen to lead the overarching design, or master site plan, for three contiguous properties spread across 15.5 acres: Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks.

The process to develop the parks — often called the “crown jewel” in the municipal parks system by city officials — starts Aug. 26. City Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill said residents should expect details about the picnic in coming weeks.

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City picks architect for downtown parks

June 1, 2010

The landscape architect behind Warren G. Magnuson and Cal Anderson parks in Seattle has been picked to design a trio of downtown parks along Issaquah Creek.

The selection kicks off the monthslong public process to plan the park complex. The Berger Partnership, a Seattle firm, and the city Parks & Recreation Department will seek input from residents about the features people want for the downtown Issaquah parks.

The architect will spearhead the overarching design, or master site plan, for three contiguous properties spread across 15.5 acres: Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks. The city plans to spend up to $1.6 million to complete the plan and build the initial phase. Issaquah voters approved money for development of the confluence-area parks in a 2006 bond.

Issaquah Parks & Recreation officials announced the selection of The Berger Partnership on May 24.

Preservation rules and the parks’ creekside geography will limit development to trails, picnic areas and other passive recreation uses.

City Parks Planner Margaret Macleod said the parks department had not picked a date for the first meeting of residents, parks staffers and the architect. Macleod said she expects the department to start asking for public input within the next few months.

“The public process is going to be a huge part of the master site plan process,” she added.

The park complex should be completed early in the next decade, though the final timeline hinges on available grants and city dollars.

Guy Michaelsen, principal at The Berger Group and the landscape architect, led the transformation of old runways and taxiways at Magnuson Park — 315 acres of a former military base along Lake Washington — into manmade wetlands and sports fields. The architect trekked through the Issaquah parks several times after he decided to submit a proposal for the project.

“You can design something with an aerial photograph and a survey, but there’s something to be said for the feel of the place,” he said.

Michaelsen said the Issaquah Creek-side parks should “enhance ecology, improve the environment and invite people in.”

The city received 16 responses from landscape architects, and the selection committee culled the list to three finalists. The Berger Partnership and the other finalists prepared a conceptual design for the parks.

The other finalists: San Francisco landscape architecture firm Bionic and Nakano Associates, the Seattle firm behind the 1995 rebuild of the International Fountain near the Space Needle.

The Berger Partnership transformed decaying Lincoln Park into Cal Anderson Park early last decade. The design added a lid to the Lincoln Reservoir on the site, capped by sports fields and a landmark fountain.

Officials in neighboring Sammamish also enlisted the firm to design Sammamish Landing Park. Read more

City leaders select architect for downtown parks

May 25, 2010

City parks officials picked a Seattle landscape architect to plan the “crown jewel” of the municipal parks system — a network of parks at the confluence of Issaquah Creek and the East Fork in downtown Issaquah.

The confluence area includes three contiguous properties: Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks. City leaders refer to the area as the “crown jewel” of city parks.

The city selected The Berger Partnership, the firm responsible for redevelopment at Warren G. Magnuson and Cal Anderson parks in Seattle. Officials announced the deal May 24.

“We take our role as stewards of the environment seriously and continuously strive to achieve balance between people and nature,” Guy Michaelsen, a partner and the landscape architect, said in a news release. “The opportunity for Confluence Park to celebrate this balance is unparalleled — Issaquah had great foresight to acquire this natural treasure in the heart of its increasingly vital downtown.”

City leaders requested proposals from landscape architects in January; the city Parks & Recreation Department received 16 responses. Staffers culled the list to the five top-scoring firms, held interviews and then invited the final three firms to participate in a conceptual design competition. Staffers and community members then picked The Berger Partnership.

Though architects sketched a conceptual plan for the parks, the final plan will be developed with input from residents about the features park-goers want. But geography and preservation requirements will limit the parks to passive recreation, such as walking trails.

Issaquah voters approved money for development of the confluence area parks in a 2006 parks bond. The measure passed with 76 percent of the vote.

City leaders select architect for downtown parks

May 24, 2010

NEW — 12:17 p.m. May 24, 2010

City parks officials picked a Seattle landscape architect to plan the “crown jewel” of the municipal parks system — a network of parks at the confluence of Issaquah Creek and the East Fork in downtown Issaquah.

The confluence area includes three contiguous properties: Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks. City leaders refer to the area as the “crown jewel” of city parks.

The city selected The Berger Partnership, the firm responsible for redevelopment at Warren G. Magnuson and Cal Anderson parks in Seattle. Officials announced the deal Monday.

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Park bond stretched to preserve open space, upgrade parks

November 17, 2009

Crews work to install artificial turf and lights at a Central Park sports field. Courtesy of Issaquah Parks & recreation Department

Crews work to install artificial turf and lights at a Central Park sports field. Courtesy of Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department

City parks officials used grants to stretch a $6.25 million park bond into almost $9.6 million — money then used to buy land for new parks, preserve open space and improve sports fields.

Issaquah voters approved the bond in November 2006 with a resounding margin: 76 percent. The dollars were split among open space acquisitions and improvements to existing parks. The park bond came almost 20 years after city officials last asked Issaquah voters for money to add recreation and open space.

Proponents pitched the bond to voters as a way to protect water quality in Issaquah waterways, add and enhance sports fields and open new areas to recreation and wildlife. Officials earmarked the biggest piece of the bond — $3.5 million — to buy creekside and hillside land. Read more

Council kicks in city money to upgrade sports fields

July 28, 2009

Since Issaquah Youth Lacrosse was founded in early 2004, teams have played on fields in Bellevue and Sammamish — but not in the organization’s namesake city. Read more

Council kicks in city money to upgrade sports fields

July 21, 2009

NEW — 6:05 p.m. July 21, 2009

Since Issaquah Youth Lacrosse was founded in early 2004, teams have played on fields in Bellevue and Sammamish — but not in the organization’s namesake city.

By next spring, however, founders Matthew Balkman and Scott Wiley could be scheduling games on new all-weather, lighted fields in the Issaquah Highlands.

City Council members approved a finance package to improve a pair of sports fields at Pad 3 in the highlands’ Central Park last night.

Balkman and Wiley asked council members to vote for the measure.

“We are part of the fastest-growing youth sport in America, and Issaquah has become a dominant force in that,” Balkman said. “We need fields.”

Lighted, all-weather fields for lacrosse and soccer leagues could materialize by spring 2010. Crews will replace soggy, grass fields with artificial turf and install sports lighting.

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