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Northshore Summit Park redevelopment in Kenmore draws conflicting ideas
The Northshore Summit Park entrance was packed full of about 80 neighbors, kids and City of Kenmore officials Monday night for an on-site special Kenmore City Council meeting. And although only about 25 houses border the small park, most in attendance had an opinion about the park’s potential redevelopment.
Concerns ranged from noise, what kind of play toy to build, to drainage and parking issues. But the biggest hurdle to redeveloping the park is a 4,400 square foot portion of land at the mouth of the park that was deemed a wetland.
“This takes a big chunk out of the middle of the park,” said City of Kenmore Parks Project Manager Bill Evans.
The park is located at N.E. 193rd St. and 63rd Ave. N.E., northwest of Kenmore City Hall. It is a long stretch of sloped land set in a residential neighborhood surrounded by homes. The park is used by kids to play but there is concern from neighbors about crime deeper into the park.
The Master Plan calls for a kids play area located at the mouth of the park on the site of the wetland, along with a pedestrian path and a picnic shelter. The city now has two options: move the play area deeper into the park or move the wetland and a higher cost.
“We can’t do work in the wetland and we have to have a 60-foot setback,” said Evans.
But that setback could be reduced to 45 feet.
“If we put something around the wetland area to enhance it we can reduce that setback,” said City of Kenmore Community Development Director Manager Debbie Bent.
The kids play area would also need a safety setback.
“Originally we wanted (the play area) near the road for visibility,” said Evans.
The visibility issue is one of safety. The idea of moving the play area deeper into the park was not popular with many of the parents.
Another option is to move the wetland.
“To move it would be very expensive and add substantial costs to the project,” said Evans. “Another challenge is do you create a wetland equal to or greater than the existing one.”
A utility road that runs right through the middle for access to a storm water vault also has to remain in the park. The dirt road could be adjusted based on the final layout.
But some in the crowd were unhappy with redeveloping the park and were upset that the meeting on Monday was the first they had heard of the plan.
Some neighbors are concerned about increased noise and buffer zones between the park and their homes.
For Rick Allison, it is about maintaining some privacy.
“I have nothing against kids or having a playground out here,” said Allison, whose home borders the mouth of the park. “But I have been here for 20 years and everyone congregates here. It would bring even more people through here.”
He said that he has even planted trees himself as a buffer from park noise and activity.
Drainage is a huge issue in the park, turning it into a bog during heavy rains.
“I used to have to put out hay for our kids to get to the bus stop,” said Allison.
One resident pointed out: “I think there was a reason they didn’t originally build homes on this land.”
Allison said that he had to move a tree on the edge of his property by the park nine months ago because it was drowning.
The drainage issue alone will be costly.
“I think they will run into some problems with it,” said Allison.
The city set aside $325,000 for parks projects in the 2010-2011 budget. Some or even all of that money could be used on the Northshore Summit Park project.
The issue of parking was pretty much a consensus. Residents seemed unhappy with the idea of carving out parking stalls for the park.
“We did not want to design something that will draw people from outside or have a regional nature,” said Evans.
There is street parking around the park. Others lobbied for reduced signage to reduce the profile of the park.
The council now plans to discuss the residents’ input and bring it back at the Oct. 29 or Nov. 5 Kenmore City Council meeting.