The city of Sammamish and YMCA have taken another step forward toward the development of a seven-acre park property on 228th Avenue Southeast into a passive-use park, focused on trails, preservation and environmental education.
At its June 19 meeting, city council approved a conceptual plan developed by staff to be submitted to the YMCA as part of the two organizations’ long-standing development agreement.
The concept for the park, informed by a community opinion survey as well as the city’s Land Acquisition Strategy and Recreation Open Space (PRO) Plan, is for it to be a passive-use park, meaning trails, open space, preservation of the existing tree canopy, preservation of wetlands and sensitive areas and linking stream corridors.
At the meeting deputy parks and recreation director Anjali Myer said the projected total cost for building the site this year came to $5.4 million with engineering, survey and design costs included.
If the site is developed in the future, parks and recreation director Angela Feser said the cost of development will be the sole responsibility of the city.
The conceptual design includes a 3,500 square-foot recreation and environmental education center with restrooms and storage, as well as a gathering area to the south of the site.
“It would have large barn doors or doors that would allow the space to extend to the outdoors, they would be equipped with audio visual equipment,” Myer said. “Other amenities within this building would include restrooms and storage space and a large outdoor deck.”
In keeping with the passive-use vision for the site, the majority of the property will be open space with trails. Myers talked about the potential for a trail system on the property during the staff presentation at the meeting.
“It is a small site so with all the trails you see, that would be about a half a mile of trails, so not very big,” Myer said. “Essentially this design would allow most of the trees to be retained on the site.”
The design is just a concept and is not binding in any way, but needed to be completed by June 30 to submit to the YMCA as part of the agreement. In May, the city had requested the YMCA extend the deadline by one year but was denied so staff began work to complete the design before last month’s deadline.
The seven-acre property, owned by the YMCA, is located just south of Pine Lake Middle School on 228th Avenue Southeast. It is surrounded by three school district-owned parcels and its current assessed value is $1.9 million. As part of the Community and Aquatic Center Operating Agreement signed between the YMCA and the city in 2013, the city was granted a lease for the property with the option to purchase at fair market value at any time, Feser said.
The YMCA does not need to approve the design and completion of the plan doesn’t obligate the city to build the plan. The nonprofit will be required to approve the plans if the city ever decides to follow through and begin construction of improvements to the property.
In 2016, plans for the property were already being developed. Funding for a feasibility study for an indoor field building was included in the Parks Capital Improvement Plan. Before the study was underway, staff took the project to council, who then decided to defer the project until after the Land Acquisition Strategy and PRO Plan were finished.
In addition, the city conducted a survey in March 2017 to collect input on how they should handle future land acquisitions of parks or trails. The survey went out 4,000 random Sammamish addresses and received response rate of more than 21 percent. The data collected showed that survey respondents vastly preferred passive use and preservation over active-use parks, Myer said. Walking and hiking trails were the highest priority uses identified by survey respondents.
Council was supportive of the design and voted to authorize its submittal to the YMCA in a unanimous 7-0 vote.