Future of Ballinger Park starting to take shape, residents asked for preferences during community meeting

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Berger Partnership Associate Landscape Architect Andy Mitton chats with a resident during a community meeting on the Ballinger Lake Master Plan Tuesday at the Ballinger Clubhouse. (Photos by David Pan)
Berger Partnership Associate Landscape Architect Andy Mitton (left) chats with a resident during a community meeting on the Ballinger Park Master Plan Tuesday evening at the Ballinger Clubhouse. (Photos by David Pan)

Choices, choices and more choices.

That was what Mountlake Terrace residents were faced with at the second community meeting for the Ballinger Park Master Plan Tuesday evening at the Ballinger Clubhouse.

Mountlake Terrace acquired the former golf course in 2013 to develop as a public park and recreational space. Berger Partnership, a Seattle-based design firm, was hired to develop a master plan to reinvent the site as a public park.

Berger Associate Landscape Architect Andy Mitton introduced three preliminary plans for the park.

What Mitton asked of crowd of close to 70 residents was that they not choose which of the three plans they preferred but instead select their favorite things about each of the plans.

“The pieces out of all of them will form a preferred plan,” Mitton said. “What do you want to do here? What it is you are interested in?”

Berger Partnership will present the preferred plan to the community at a meeting to be scheduled in mid-July.

Prior to introducing the three preliminary plans, Mitton briefly reviewed some of the results from the last community meeting. A computer program was able to highlight words that were mentioned the most by residents in their feedback.

Some of the more popular words included: wildlife, bird watching, peace, open space, green space, goose poop, trails, accessible trails, walking, getting to the water, being or floating over the water, bathrooms, play, dog leash, dog park, benches, rest stops and community gardens.

Mitton was encouraged by the response from residents, adding that a park program is starting to take shape.

“What we’re looking for is how (the park) is programmed and what makes the most sense,” Mitton said.

Those individuals still wishing to provide feedback were encouraged to send their comments to Parks Services and Facilities Superintendent Ken Courtmanch at kcourtmanch@ci.mlt.wa.us.

Here are highlights of the three preliminary plans:

Double Helix

This plan would have a perched gathering lawn at the Clubhouse with concrete steps. Small events, such as weddings and picnics, could be accommodated. It would feature a tower, fishing pier, boat dock and a floating boardwalk. A community garden also is included and an off leash dog park would be located at the old tennis courts.

Floodplain

The trail is located much closer to the Clubhouse and there still is room for a gathering terrace. A play area is located close to the Clubhouse. This plan includes a wildlife observation platform and an informal amphitheater that could feature smaller concerts or other events. In this plan, City staff would seasonally mow desire paths in the park.

Meander

This option features the most trail options with trails looping throughout the park. There is a sculptural play structure by the Clubhouse and a play structure and shelter by the beach. The core of the park in this plan is more vegetated and wild. It does feature a boardwalk over the creek and wetland and a new fishing pier. Large events could be held on the lawn at the Clubhouse. A larger dog park close to parking is incorporated into this plan.

For more information see: Ballinger Park.

– By David Pan

Residents leave feedback on the three preliminary plans presented by Berger Partnership.
Residents leave feedback on the three preliminary plans presented by Berger Partnership.
Residents could pick out their favorite elements in each of the three preliminary plans.
Residents could pick out their favorite elements in each of the three preliminary plans.

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