The City of Mountlake Terrace’s plan to open the former Ballinger Lake Golf Course to the public, possibly by mid-August, while simultaneously creating a long-range master plan for the site was met with a positive response from City Council members Thursday night. The council was briefed on the current status of Ballinger Lake Park at its work/study session.
City officials announced earlier in the week that the park could be opened for “passive use” sometime soon after the next Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission (RPAC) meeting scheduled for August 13.
City Councilmember Doug McCardle serves as the council liaison to the RPAC and spoke Thursday about the current plans for the new park. “A lot of people want to open it now and have access to it. Some of the council members are the same way; ‘yeah, let’s get it open. It’s a cool thing.’ But at the same time we have to do it right so that the finished project is accessible and it’s done,” McCardle said.
Earlier in the week the RPAC reviewed more than three dozen ideas for the park submitted during a June 9 open house. Very few, if any, of the ideas will be implemented by the time the park is initially opened; most of the suggestions are intended for consideration in the site’s long-term planning, a process that will take months to complete.
“We know we’re going to develop the park, but we want to do it right the first time,” McCardle said.
The city is notifying state and federal officials concerning the change of use for the 42-acres from a golf course to a park. “People are very excited about the opportunity that the city has. They understand that it is going to be a process because, as parks and open space we are re-categorizing (its) use, and there’s the shoreline and the lake and the shoreline management plan. So all those environmental things have to come into play and we have to get those worked out,” McCardle explained.
Council member Bryan Wahl was upbeat about the short- and long-term plans for the park. “It sounds like the direction we are going, we’re getting the best of both worlds by a) opening the park to everybody soon for passive purposes, but at the same time, on a parallel process, being able to move forward with a master plan for the site, long-term, that makes sure we really do it right,” he said.
— By Doug Petrowski