Preferred Ballinger Park Master Plan unveiled

Berger Partnership Principal Guy Michaelsen and Associate Andy Mitton (right) prefer to disucss the preferred Ballinger Park Master Plan Tuesday at the Ballinger Clubhouse. (Photo by David Pan)
Berger Partnership Principal Guy Michaelsen and Associate Andy Mitton (right) discuss the preferred Ballinger Park Master Plan during a community meeting Tuesday at the Ballinger Clubhouse. (Photo by David Pan)

The City of Mountlake Terrace now has a roadmap for Ballinger Park.

The Berger Partnership unveiled the preferred Ballinger Park Master Plan Tuesday evening at the Ballinger Clubhouse.

The preferred master plan took elements from three plans that were presented during a community meeting in early June. Residents provided feedback on the various elements of each of the three alternatives.

Having a master plan will assist the City as it attempts to find funding for the various projects detailed in the preferred master plan, according to Mountlake Terrace City Manager Arlene Fisher.

“One of the advantages of having this master plan is that we actually have a document that we can take to granting agencies,” Fisher said. “It’s a good start.”

Next the master plan will be reviewed by the City Council and then taken up again by the Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission before formally being adopted by the City Council.

Here are the highlights of the preferred master plan:

  • Six entrances are proposed for the park.
  • To the north, the tennis courts will be removed in order to widen the water channel.
  • The parking lot adjacent to the community center will be reconfigured to give the water channel more room. The bridge will remain but the idea is move the flood plain away from the community center.
  • A play area that could incorporate a splash pad/water feature is proposed north of the community center. The proposal drew applause from the audience. In addition, a new restroom facility would be located north of the community center for those who use the sports fields.
  • There will be trails to the water and lots of internal loops. A crushed rock trail that is wheelchair-accessible was proposed.
  • There was interest among cross country enthusiasts on trying to find a way to develop a 3.1-mile course. If the Interurban and Lakeview Trails are incorporated, then it is possible to have a 3.1-mile course.
  • Three different points for water access are proposed, including a wildlife viewing area on the southwest portion of the park, a new fishing pier in the middle of the park and a new floating dock and ramp where the current boat launch is located. The proposed wildlife viewing area is regarded as a long term project.
  • Community gardens are proposed near the community center. These gardens could serve as a welcoming point for park visitors. Pavement near the community center would allow events to be extended outside.
  • One of the goals is to separate the storm water from the parking lot and find ways to treat it.
  • Halls Creek and the west side are a more passive, contemplative part of the park. Art and learning opportunities are possible features here.
  • A new restroom/shower/changing area, new parking lot, new play area and expanded picnic area are proposed for the east side of the park, where the boat launch is located.

A dog park, which was discussed at the last meeting, was not included in the master plan. Two proposed locations were either not centrally located or the right size. After reviewing the feedback, “it (Ballinger Park) seems like a wrong site for an off-leash park,” said Berger Associate Andy Mitton said. “The feeling is that you would look at other places, better sites that are suited to an off-leash park.”

No formal amphitheater is proposed, though smaller gatherings, such as school classes, could be accommodated. An amphitheater also was discussed at the last meeting.

A resident asked about rain and the flooding that occurs in the park. Most of the pathways are planned to be higher up in the park but there will be trails affected by the flooding.

“In the winter, I’d wear your grubby shoes,” Berger Principal Guy Michaelsen said.

The issue of the homeless was brought up and Michaelsen said that one of the things a master plan can’t do is solve society’s problems. But he added that the more people you bring to a park and the more active the park becomes, then the more it encourages the right kind of behavior in the park.

The next step is for the Berger Partnership to do some cost estimates and put together a phasing plan since the various elements won’t happen at once.

No time line has been established since there isn’t a first phase budget.

“Until you have a budget, you don’t have a timeline,” Michaelsen said.

The hope is that the City would be able to obtain grants or establish partnerships with governmental agencies. But some steps can be taken, such as mowing specific pathways in the park, that won’t cost a lot of money.

“The plan may change over time,” Mitton added. “It becomes a working document and it needs to grow and adapt to the community as the community grows to love the site.”

– By David Pan


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