Investing in the future of parks, open space and connections has been a constant theme of the work Issaquah has planned for 2019. Now the city has begun a large planning project for Tibbetts Valley Park, Veterans Memorial Park and the Issaquah Creek Corridor.
Parks director Jeff Watling said the city has begun developing master plans for the three major city parks in an effort to reinvest in existing city property rather than expanding. The city will be working with architecture consultant firm Mithun to develop the plans.
“What we heard from the community, one was a real interest in improving our existing parks, improving their use, functionality to address the really diverse needs of our residents,” he said. “We also heard… a long held desire for connecting our parks and spaces so they are not seen as isolated. With those two things in mind we are initiating master plans in all three of these parks, the prominent role they have played really made all three a high priority.”
Tibbetts Valley Park will play an important role in the future as it sits at the edge of the central Issaquah, a sub-area of the city planned for long term growth. Watling said the planning work will look at the diversity of possible uses as well as maximizing field space and field functionality for year-round, multi-sport use.
The Veterans Memorial Park Master Plan will actually cover the three adjacent parks in the Olde Town area. A unified plan for Veterans Memorial Park, Depot Park, and Pedestrian Park will be formed to support both the resident and commercial needs of the area.
While Tibbetts Valley Park and Veterans Memorial Park are stand alone locations, the work done on the Issaquah Creek Corridor will focus on connecting the public spaces and trails that run north to south from Lake Sammamish State Park to Squak Valley Park.
The three master plans for each section create a concept for what elements are envisioned for each location. Watling said the city will be working with residents to receive opinions on what they want to see for the parks. Parks staff will attend local farmers markets to speak with residents and record their desires, interests and concerns.
The city also plans to hold meetings through August, as well as conduct an online survey in the fall.
“The goal is for this to give us, as a community, a big picture plan of what we want to do with these spaces. That would allow us the most efficient future investments that we can make into these spaces,” Watling said. “When we understand the big picture and understand what we are going for, those little investments can make wise and smart steps in the direction we want to go.”