Kirkland officials seek input about future park systems
By LAILA ZAYAN
Kirkland Reporter UW News Lab
October 27, 2011 · Updated 5:01 PM
What makes Kirkland’s parks, trails, natural areas and recreation facilities and programs great? What would make them even better?
The Kirkland Parks and Community Services Department wants to know. Hence, they sponsored a couple open houses this week and sent an online survey seeking input from residents.
Driving these efforts is the annexation last June of Finn Hill, Juanita and Kingsgate, which added more than 30,000 residents to the city.
Michael Cogle, the deputy director of Kirkland Parks and Community Services, said, “With the recent annexation, we wanted to check in with the citizens.”
The first open house was on Monday at the North Kirkland Community Center; the second was on Tuesday at the Peter Kirk Community Center. Park Board Chairman Bob Kamuda attended them as well as several representatives from the Parks and Community Services Department.
The informal event allowed Kirkland residents to mingle with one another and connect with Board members.
The open houses were interactive with large boards that displayed specific topics and questions relating to the city’s parks and trails. Those attending were able to rank priorities and voice their opinion on what should be done.
For example, a large reader board asked, “What types of additional outdoor park and recreation facilities are needed in Kirkland, if any?”
There were about 16 sticky note responses: ideas included community center pools, covered picnic table gazebo, spray park, more dog off-leash areas and all-season turf ball fields.
Cogle said the information gathered from the survey and open houses will help the city improve its parks and programs and will help in setting priorities for future funding decisions.
Sue Keller, board vice chair of Parks and Community Services, said, “Outreach is an important part of what the city does.” Keller said that future designs and building will be based on what the community wants.
According to Jenny Schroder, director of Parks and Community Services, the results of the open house events and survey will be discussed at the Park Funding Exploratory Committee meeting on Nov. 8 at Northwest University as well as the Park Board meeting on Nov. 9 at City Hall.
For more information about upcoming meetings, please visit www.kirklandwa.gov.
Laila Zayan is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.