Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960

 

By Pam Stevens
Managing Editor 

Eagle Ridge Park to become more than just a park

 

March 8, 2010



Eagle Ridge Park, located on Soper Hill Road, will have major improvements in the near future.

Using the natural environment will provide an outdoor classroom and other amenities.

Eagle Ridge Park is a small city park tucked away on Soper Hill Road, a place where our resident eagles build their nests and where the new Lake Stevens Senior Center is housed, but with the natural beauty the park already had and the need for more recreation for city residents, the City of Lake Stevens is in the process of making Eagle Ridge a park that will fill the needs of many in our community.

“As the City’s population increases, so does the city’s park and recreation needs; careful and thoughtful park planning for immediate and future growth is required to ensure those needs are met,” Scotty Swift, Community Programs Planner for the city said. “Eagle Ridge Park presents an opportunity to provide a great recreational outlet for citizens and development of this park was identified as a priority on the Park Board Work Program in 2008.”

The 20.27 acre park houses the Senior Center on the lower 4.79 acres and the city has just purchased more land to create a park that will be able to offer the community many activities.

“The City just purchased two adjacent properties to the north west of the park, which adds an additional 7.63 acres to the upper portion of the park. When the newly purchased property is added to the existing park the total park size will be 27.9 acres,” Swift said.

With the help of the Park Board and city residents, the city has come up with plans that will include an interpretive center and ways to preserve the overall natural feel of the park.

“The lower portion of the park (15.48 acres) contains a headwater to two stream systems. This portion of the park also provides a wildlife corridor and is home to two Bald Eagles who have nested there for over 18 years (the Department of Fish and Wildlife have documented the Eagles nesting there since 1992), Swift said. “The unique characteristics of this property make it highly valuable both locally and regionally and provides educational opportunities for adults and children to learn and experience the relationship, value and function of wetlands, streams, and wildlife corridors in an urbanized environment. The Park Board understands this and has taken this into consideration when developing the Park Master Plan, carefully preserving the lower portions of the park.”

Because of the location of the park, the folks at the Senior Center are excited to get involved in the changes that will occur within the park.

“The senior center will get some landscaping improvements such as the showcase or concept gardens. The seniors have indicated their interest in doing quite a bit of the “work” on those gardens,” City Councilman Kim Daughtry said. “There are some changes that will affect the seniors but none of them in a negative way. The biggest change that I can see is getting the seniors involved (more than they already are) with the kids. There are going to be many opportunities in the park for the seniors to teach and nurture our younger citizens that will have a lasting impact on our community for years to come. Everyone is excited about that.”

The city is still on the Master Plan stage of the process but with the purchase of the additional land and the nature of the park, the changes will create a classroom like setting for kids and adults alike.

“The Master Plan is just one of many steps in the process that leads to the development of a public park. A Park Master Plan is conceptual in nature and not intended to address detailed issues related to engineered site design or park operations,” Swift explains. “When a conceptual site plan is completed, site analysis cost estimates and funding options will be developed. The development of the park will likely be broken down into phases with a tentative timeline that may span out over several years.”

According to Daughtry the park will include features such as concept gardens showing the use of native plants and how to care for them, an outdoor class room where “classes” could be given on all kinds of topics dealing with how the park has been improved with the environment in mind, an interpretive center, shelters that families could gather in to have a picnic with a barbecue and still be able to watch the kids having fun on the playfield or on the provided play equipment, a non-formalized playfield for kids and adults to play and a community garden.

“The changes will be focused on the entire community. Everyone will be thrilled with the park when it is completed. I can’t wait to spend time there myself and I’m sure that there will be many opportunities for us, the citizens, to help make the vision a reality through donating some time to the construction of the park,” Daughtry said.

 

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