At a Feb. 4 meeting, the Bothell City Council approved the newest iteration of the city’s parks, recreation and open spaces (PROS) plan.
“It takes a village,” parks planning and grants program manager Tracey Perkosky said of the process.
Perkosky presented on the topic at the meeting.
A PROS plan is a six-year guide (Bothell’s previous incarnation was adopted in 2014) and strategic plan focusing on parks, open space, trails and recreation management and enhancement. It outlines goals and potential projects for the city to accomplish in both the short and long term.
At the meeting, Perkosky not only brought up central projects featured in the plan but also what has been accomplished in the city since the last PROS plan was passed.
Some chief items included the formation of the parks and recreation department in 2015, the acquisition of the Wayne Golf Course and the North Creek Forest and the completion of an East Norway Hill Park master plan.
Perkosky stressed community involvement as being pivotal to drafting.
“Community engagement and meeting people where they are was a key element of this plan,” Perkosky said. “We wanted to make sure that we heard from as many folks in Bothell as possible.”
In the interest of the PROS plan, the city put out three surveys, hosted three stakeholder sessions, 18 community meetings/pop-ups, one community workshop (with 32 attendees) and heard input at board and council sessions, according to the meeting presentation.
Community surveys showed that 97 percent of residents who responded thought public parks and recreation were important/essential to quality of life; 73 percent visited parks for the purpose of trail usage specifically; and 90 percent of respondents have visited the Park at Bothell Landing, for instance, in the last year. Across the three surveys (community, dog park and teen surveys), there were a total of 2,800 responses.
“I did not expect such a large response,” Perkosky said.
Major themes across survey results included residents wanting to “take care of what you have” (i.e., upgrading preexisting resources) and more inclusive and accessible projects and programming.
Perkosky shared during her presentation some of the significant proposed projects in the plan. Near-term focuses, which are intended to be accomplished within the next five years, include the building of a dog park, a tree-planting program at parks around Bothell and an ADA path and shade structure at Bloomberg Hill Park.
Proposed long-term ventures, which are meant to be enacted by 2026 and beyond, include the acquisition/design and development of a community park at North Bothell Park, a Canyon Creek Loop trail, added trails and site restoration to the former Wayne Golf Course and more development at East Norway Hill Park.
Future potential projects — which require alternate funding sources and as such do not have a specified completion window — include the development of a regional aquatic community center facility and the acquisition of the Shelton View Woods Park.
Perkosky noted that the plan is used to anticipate projects that could be enacted as a result of future grant applications and cycles and narrowing down which areas of Bothell need more analysis and community input. The plan itself is buttressed by requirements from Washington state’s Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), which, by approving Bothell’s PROS plan, can lead to eligibility for grants through RCO.
Council, following Perkosky’s presentation, voiced an appreciation for PROS plan work and had some questions regarding areas like public-private partnerships that could affect projects, survey results and river access.
Council ultimately unanimously approved (with Councilmember Rosemary McAuliffe absent) the plan.
“Throughout our community that’s what we hear the most about, is our parks and open space…I’m extremely happy with the fact that we had as many people engage in the process in our community to get the opportunity to hear from them,” Councilmember James McNeal said.
“I’m really looking forward to putting some legs on this,” Councilmember Mason Thompson said.