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.

Read more

Issaquah benefactor Julia Pritt dies

April 27, 2010

The philanthropist who donated land for a planned downtown park and housing for the homeless has died.

Julia Pritt, 77, died April 3 at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. The philanthropist amassed a fortune when she and then-husband Frank Pritt launched a software company, Attachmate Corp. Julia Pritt led accounting and human resources for the company.

The retired software executive left a diverse legacy in downtown Issaquah. Her donations laid the foundation for a much-anticipated park and needed transitional housing units.

The city purchased the Beebe property — today known as Cybil-Madeline Park — in August 1995 with a $500,000 donation from Pritt. City officials have worked for more than a decade to assemble parcels near the confluence of Issaquah Creek and the East Fork. Officials refer to the area of planned trails and open space as the “crown jewel” of the municipal park system.

Pritt requested for the parcel to be renamed for her granddaughters, Cybil and Madeline.

Read more

Cybil-Madeline Park, Compassion House donor dies

April 24, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. April 24, 2010

The philanthropist who donated land for a planned downtown park and housing for the homeless has died.

Julia Pritt, 77, died April 3 at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. The philanthropist amassed a fortune when she and then-husband Frank Pritt launched a software company, Attachmate Corp. Julia Pritt led accounting and human resources for the company.

The retired software executive left a diverse legacy in downtown Issaquah. Her donations laid the foundation for a much-anticipated park and needed transitional housing units.

Read more

City seeks architect for park

January 19, 2010

The vision for Cybil-Madeline, Tollë Anderson and Issaquah Creek parks started to take shape in early January as city officials sent out a request for landscape architects to tackle the project. Read more

Officials seek architect, vision for Issaquah Creek parks

January 15, 2010

NEW — 12:15 p.m. Jan. 15, 2010

The vision for Cybil-Madeline, Tollë Anderson and Issaquah Creek parks started to take shape in early January as city officials sent out a request for landscape architects to tackle the project.

City officials spent years talking up the wooded, 15.5-acre area where Issaquah Creek meets the East Fork as the “crown jewel” of the municipal parks system. Issaquah voters approved $6.25 million for parks improvements and open space acquisition in November 2006, with money funneled to the confluence area parks. The parks maintenance facility is located near the site, and the city included the facility in the request to architects.

City Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill and her team seek a landscape architect to turn the vision into reality. The architect will navigate a thicket filled with development and environmental limits on the land, and match the plan with residents’ wish lists, during the planning process.

Read more

Press Editorial

January 5, 2010

Correction: The following editorial was published Jan. 6 in The Issaquah Press. Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill explains that the city is putting out a Request for Qualifications to seek to hire an architectural designer for the new park. Two or three design firms will be chosen to develop conceptual site plans based on specific criteria, and a final firm will be selected by city parks staff to begin gathering community comments.

Let the community help design new park

When the city of Issaquah asked voters to approve a parks bond in 2006, one of the most enticing items to be funded was land that would expand city-owned property for the future Cybil-Madeline Park along Issaquah Creek. Read more

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

Planners envision downtown park as ‘crown jewel’

November 17, 2009

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. Read more

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