City officials celebrate the new Parks Maintenance Center after slamming sledgehammers against a short wall within the old Office Max building as a way to “break ground” on the renovation project. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

City officials celebrate the new Parks Maintenance Center after slamming sledgehammers against a short wall within the old Office Max building as a way to “break ground” on the renovation project. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

Kirkland ‘breaks walls’ on Parks Maintenance Center project

City officials broke holes in a short wall to commemorate the project’s official launch.

The Kirkland City Council green-lit the new Parks Maintenance Center at the May 21 general meeting to turn around and celebrate its groundbreaking the next day.

The new facility, intended to enhance parks maintenance services in Kirkland’s newest neighborhoods, will take the place of a former Office Max location at 12006 120th Place Northeast. Mayor Penny Sweet spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony that invited locals to learn about the project and enjoy refreshments before city officials broke holes in a short wall to commemorate the project’s official launch.

“What a beautiful day for us to do this beautiful deed,” Sweet said. “Our parks maintenance crews mow an annual average of four million square feet of grass and replace 125 miles of toilet paper in our parks facilities…Thank you to all our parks maintenance staff members for all the hard work you do to serve all of our city’s treasured parks and open spaces.”

Council had awarded a bid for the building’s renovations the night before at its meeting. Most of the city council attended the groundbreaking, including Jon Pascal, Jay Arnold, Kelli Curtis and Toby Nixon, along with numerous city workers and staff.

Green Kirkland Partnership will also benefit from the location’s storage space as it grows within the community. Overall, the facility’s biggest impact will be allowing city workers to maintain a warehouse inventory as opposed to buying or renting equipment and materials as they’re needed, according to Parks and Community Services director Lynn Zwaagstra.

The city currently oversees 50 parks across 696 acres of land and parks maintenance staff has insufficient space to store all the necessary equipment and materials for the area they’re responsible for.

Through the 2011 annexation of North Juanita, Finn Hill and Kingsgate, Kirkland gained 154 acres of parks and open spaces, including 132nd Square, OO Denny and Edith Moulton parks. The new Parks Maintenance Center location was chosen for its location along the Cross Kirkland Corridor and proximity to the neighborhoods it will serve.

The space is about 25,000 square feet, which will efficiently serve the parks maintenance department’s needs, according to city officials. The facility will included showers, locker rooms, a drying room, numerous tool rooms, a hazardous chemical room, workshops, enhanced security measures and a staff room big enough to host the entire parks maintenance staff.

“We’re very excited about this new facility,” Zwaagstra said. “The facility is really an amazing investment. By investing in our facilities, by investing in equipment and investing in staff, ultimately we are investing in the park system and we’re investing in our community.”

After searching for seven years, the city purchased the building from Office Max for about $8 million in 2018, according to city documents. National commercial real estate firm, CBRE Group, valued the space at $8.8 million in a report prepared for the city.

“The new parks maintenance center will allow staff to efficiently and effectively serve all of the city’s treasured parks and opens spaces into the future,” Sweet said. “The project is another important milestone in fulfilling the commitments the city made prior to annexation.”

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Kirkland councilmember Kelli Curtis.

City officials commemorate the new Parks Maintenance Center by slamming sledgehammers against a short wall within the old Office Max building as a way to “break ground” on the renovation project. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

City officials commemorate the new Parks Maintenance Center by slamming sledgehammers against a short wall within the old Office Max building as a way to “break ground” on the renovation project. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

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