The green necklace: a gift to the city and the environment

February 21, 2014

More and more, people within the city are talking about the planned “green necklace.” It isn’t a gift of jewelry to citizens, but many see it as a gift to residents nonetheless.

The green necklace refers to a circle of parks and open spaces around the city, allowing easy pedestrian and bicycle access. It includes Lake Sammamish and the Issaquah Alps in the goal to surround the city and provide interconnected pathways between open spaces.

By Peter Clark Anne McGill, Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department director, visits the future Phase 3 site of Confluence Park, in an area she hopes the city will name ‘Margaret’s Meadow’ in honor of late park planner Margaret Macleod.

By Peter Clark
Anne McGill, Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department director, visits the future Phase 3 site of Confluence Park, in an area she hopes the city will name ‘Margaret’s Meadow’ in honor of late park planner Margaret Macleod.

Though the idea has existed for decades, the Issaquah City Council expressly outlined a plan to create the network of open space in the Central Issaquah Plan, approved in December 2012.

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Construction to start on downtown Issaquah parks

April 17, 2012

Timeline remains uncertain due to lack of funding

The downtown parks along Issaquah Creek — 15.5 acres referred to as the crown jewel in the municipal parks system — can soon start a long transformation into undulating paths, picnic areas and more.

In a March 19 decision, City Council members approved the overarching design outline, or master site plan, for the interconnected Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks. The action laid the groundwork for construction to start on the site by late summer, though the effort to complete the parks could stretch for years.

City parks planners still need to acquire municipal permits for the initial construction phase. Meanwhile, architects at The Berger Partnership, a Seattle firm, continue to fine-tune the design for the parks.

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Issaquah voters could decide parks funds in November

April 17, 2012

Issaquah voters could decide as early as November on a multimillion dollar package to fund expansions and upgrades to city parks.

The proposed park bond could generate dollars to add amenities to existing parks, create additional parkland and purchase undeveloped land for conservation. The package could infuse funds into the parks system as lean municipal budgets limit the number of projects the city can undertake.

The municipal Parks & Recreation Department is in the initial stage to prepare for such a bond package, although the timeline is not yet firm. The decision to put a bond measure on the ballot is left to the City Council.

The city is considering offers from firms to conduct a public opinion survey to gauge residents’ interest in parks amenities. The survey should reach residents by late spring or early summer.

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County acquires Cougar Mountain land for park

December 21, 2010

King County has acquired 41 acres near Issaquah to be added someday to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

Officials and open space groups considered the land — west of Newport Way Northwest and south of Northwest Oakcrest Drive — as a high priority for conservation.

County planners aim to purchase additional land in the area to connect Newport Way Northwest to the 3,115-acre park. The parcel is located in the northeast corner of the preserve.

The county used $1.55 million from the King County Parks expansion levy and the Conservation Futures open space program levy to purchase the forested site near the Summerhill neighborhood. The deal closed Dec. 3. Read more

Architect offers bold plan for creekside parks

November 30, 2010

The proposed design for a downtown parks site includes a horseshoe-shaped bridge across Issaquah Creek and meandering trails. The Berger Partnership

Initial proposal emphasizes ecology and history at downtown site

Ideas abound for the downtown parks along Issaquah Creek: boulders for climbing, meandering paths, community gardens, historic farmhouses repurposed as meeting spaces and — the centerpiece — a horseshoe-shaped pedestrian bridge across the creek at the main stem and the East Fork.

The ambitious plan aims to transform the oft-overlooked, 15.5-acre site near Darigold into a destination. Seattle landscape architect Guy Michaelsen said the intent is to create a park site “unique to Issaquah and a reflection of Issaquah.”

The site — often referred to as the “crown jewel” in the municipal parks system — encompasses Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks. The effort is the largest parks project since the city built Squak Valley Park South in 2008 and the most ambitious plan since the city laid the groundwork for Tibbetts Valley Park more than 20 years ago.

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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 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

Former city biologist seeks conservation district seat

March 9, 2010

Kirk Prindle

Kirk Prindle, a former Issaquah city employee known for efforts to protect the dwindling Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon, seeks to re-enter the public sector next week with a King Conservation District post.

Voters in Issaquah and across most of King County will elect a new member to the conservation district board March 16. The district promotes sustainable use of natural resources, and provides information and voluntary technical-assistance programs to landowners.

Prindle seeks to join the five-member board tasked with running the district and awarding dozens of grants to Issaquah and other cities to fund environmental projects. Read more

New training program to restore Berntsen Park

March 9, 2010

Continuing efforts to restore Berntsen Park, the city of Issaquah has partnered with the Washington Native Plant Society to provide community members with local habitat experience through the Native Plant Stewardship Training program. Read more