Maple Valley looking for results on park projects

Maple Valley City Council members are eyeing parks projects that could have tangible results over the next year.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Commission presented its draft work plan for the next year to council in a joint meeting between the two groups Monday night.

Parks Director Greg Brown said the last 18 months have been “quite busy” for the department as they have worked on updating the Parks, Recreation, Cultural and Human Services Plan, finding funding for phase 2 of Ravensdale Park, and drafting the work plan.

Dave Sanderson, vice chair of the commission, said the three things the commission heard as the greatest wants of residents are trails, active use parks, and an improved community center.

The list of projects presented in the work plan included an interlocal agreement with the Tahoma School District to jointly develop the Summit Park site adjacent to the future home of Tahoma High School, running a bond measure to pay for parks, the parks and rec element of the comprehensive plan update, master planning two unused city park properties, exploring options for developing a community center, the parking expansion and beach house remodel at Lake Wilderness Park, and park code revisions.

“Where we can get really transformative, I think, is the bond issue,” Sanderson said during the meeting.

He added this year could be “pivotal” for the Summit Park project and for considering community center options.

“The things that I think are really important are to actually get something accomplished,” Councilman Layne Barnes said.

The community center, the ILA with the district, and figuring out how to pay for the city and residents’ wants were the issues that rose to the top of the list for many of the council members.

The projects on that list that are already underway are the parking expansion which is in the design process, and the ILA with the city and school district with ongoing talks about the Summit Park property. The beach house remodel at Lake Wilderness Park is slated for 2015. City Manager David Johnston also pointed out that the parks and rec component of the comprehensive plan update was largely taken care of by the plan update that the council adopted in February.

Other possibilities that have come before the parks commission include turning the park property that is located at 216th and 276th St. into a dog park and South Sound Critter Care’s desire to develop the property at Henry’s Switch into a wildlife care and public wildlife education center.

Sanderson said that Pull Together has approached the commission about getting creation of the dog park funded and built through donations and volunteers.

“I’m a big fan of the partnership with the dog park thing,” Councilman Sean Kelly said. “That sounds like a no brainer.”

Brown told council that the funding piece, particularly going out for a bond, depends on the ILA with the school district. He made the point that the city won’t know what it needs until it is known what the school district can afford.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Brown said. “That opportunity has never been available to the city of Maple Valley before. It’s a huge thing.”


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