Bond measure would create sidewalks, bike lanes and park improvements in Kenmore

Kenmore residents will be voting on a 20-year, $19.750 million dollar sidewalks, bike lanes and parks improvement bond this November based on suggestions the city received during their Imagine Kenmore program.

City of Kenmore - Contributed art

Kenmore residents will be voting on a 20-year, $19.750 million dollar sidewalks, bike lanes and parks improvement bond this November based on suggestions the city received during their Imagine Kenmore program.

The bond would fund five major development projects which include building sidewalks and bike lanes along 68th Avenue Northeast and Juanita Drive and improvements at Log Boom Park, Squire’s Landing and Rhododendron Park.

Mayor David Baker said the proposed improvements were a result of public outreach the city has been conducting.

“This is really a very exciting time for the city, we have accomplished a lot in a few years time and we are listening to the public and want to deliver what they’ve asked for,” he said.

Bond documents presented to the City Council pegged the cost of the 68th Avenue Northeast project at $5.1 million, Log Boom Park at $3.2 million, Rhododendron Park at $800,000, Squire’s Landing Park at $5.15 million and bond insurance at $500,000, all to be completely funded through the bond.

The project along Juanita Drive would cost around $12.735 million funded through grants in conjunction with $5 million from the bond.

Kenmore City Manager Rob Karlinsey said because Juanita Drive is an important cross-lake corridor it should be relatively easy for the city to secure grant funding for the improvements.

Improvements along Juanita Drive include widening the road and installing bike lanes and sidewalks, with a particular focus on the street around Northeast 153rd Place where the road winds.

The Juanita Drive project will likely take longer than similar improvements along 68th Avenue Northeast because the city will have to wait for grant approval and must acquire more property along the southern road.

If approved, construction along 68th Avenue Northeast in downtown Kenmore could begin as early as 2019.

At Rhododendron Park a boardwalk connecting parking to the waterfront and a dock are planned and improvements could be finished by 2019 too.

Log Boom Park would have its beach moved west and a sand beach installed along with a kayak storage building, water craft launch and a covered pavilion viewpoint.

However, due to concerns over fecal coliform, a common bacterial problem in Lake Washington resulting from animals defecating in the water, Karlinsey said the beach may be best suited for non-water activities.

“We’re not necessarily advertising that this beach will be a swimming beach,” he said.

Since much of the Kenmore shoreline is also wetland, the city must mitigate any development by a six-to-one ratio. Karlinsey said much of this mitigation would occur at or near Squire’s Landing.

Squire’s Landing would also be dramatically reshaped as the existing single-family house would be torn down while the three-car garage would remain to house kayaks, canoes and other watercraft.

The park sits at the junction of Swamp Creek and the Sammamish River and hosts a lagoon connected to the creek.

If area nonprofits eventually raise enough funds, a storage building will be constructed in the northeastern corner of the lagoon. The bond also includes funds for a new boat launch and dock on the lagoon.

The single waterway to the lagoon would be dug out and expanded, and a second waterway would be constructed. The second waterway would be inaccessible to boaters and full of snags, providing young salmon a place to rest during the spawning season.

A boardwalk would span both waterways and circle the park, as well as crossing Swamp Creek to a spit of land between the creek and the river.

Invasive species like blackberry and reed canary grass would be removed and native plant species would be planted, Karlinsey said.

These are all improvements which Karlinsey said Kenmore residents have requested.

“We believe the city’s really done its homework on this, these aren’t projects that we pulled out of thin air,” he said.

If the bond is approved, work on these projects would begin immediately and all are anticipated to be completed by 2023.

However, federal regulations only allow a city three years to spend bond money, so the ballot measure includes a provision which lets the city reissue the bond in three years. This means residents would be paying off the bond for 23 years, but the $19.75 million price tag would remain the same.

The bond would be funded through property taxes of 32 cents per $1,000 of assessed value equalling around $128 annually for a $400,000 house.

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