City gets update on Big Rock Park

The Sammamish City Council got an update on the status of the Big Rock Park master plan during its study session March 11.

An example of a 'bird blind' that the city would like to implement at Big Rock Park.

An example of a 'bird blind' that the city would like to implement at Big Rock Park.

The Sammamish City Council got an update on the status of the Big Rock Park master plan during its study session March 11. The park project was started in January 2012 with the goal of creating a park that is inviting to the entire community, enhancing, protecting and celebrating natural system, provide outdoor opportunities for environmental and heritage education and allowing for a phased construction plan to work within the city’s budgetary realities.

Sammamish Parks Director Jessi Bon told councilmembers the current considerations include the proximity of the park to neighbors, sensitive areas of the park and issues with trail systems.

At “Site A,” Bon said, they are proposing parking on the street for 30-40 cars with the hopes of putting in six to eight additional spots. However the current grading will require paving, which will be pricey.

At this site there will be a covered gathering/education circle for school groups. Councilmembers asked if there could be a fireplace in the middle of this area, and Bon said she would look into it. In the site proposal there also will be an elevated boardwalk that will be ADA accessible, an extremely uncommon trait for these types of pathways. Site A also will include informal picnic areas, observation decks, and the renovation of both a house and barn. Bon said that the trail system will have to be pulled off property lines as well.

Bon said that “Site B” is trickier–it is much harder to get to, has less parking, and the trail system is harder to orchestrate due to property lines. The city hopes to keep Site B as natural as possible. Bon said there are natural flowing waterfalls, depending on the time of the year, and lots of wildlife. The city would like to build a bird blind, a structure that people can step into and see the birds without being seen. They also would like to add a boardwalk and habitat restoration to provide environmental education opportunities. On Site B, there is the Reard House, which has been improved and renovated through volunteer work and grants, a historic sauna, which the city hopes to reconstruct into restrooms, and the Tanner House, which is privately owned at this time. There is also an old garage that may be used as a storage/maintenance facility.

City officials estimate that Site A will cost $2.67 million for design and construction and then an additional $1.12 million for maintenance. Site B is estimated to cost $1.4 million for design and construction, with an additional $273,000 for maintenance. This means that the total cost estimate for the alternative Big Rock Park plan would be approximately $4 million to design and construct and then and approximately $385,000 to maintain.

Council member Nancy Whitten said she would like to see a playground, even a small one, at the entrance of either site to fulfill the broader needs of community members. Other council members expressed serious consideration in installing a zip-line. Bon said she would look into both of these additions.

The coming months will include the adoption of a park plan (April 2014), the beginning of phase one design (May 2014), and then the hopes of beginning construction next spring (Spring 2015).


Kelly Montgomery: 425-391-0363;


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