“We’re celebrating two recent acquisitions of property that expand Juanita Heights Park on eastern Finn Hill by nearly five acres – and move us another step closer to creating our Billy Goat Trail from the top of the hill to Juanita Beach,” according to the alliance’s website.
King County Council member Rod Dembowski and Kirkland officials who helped make these land purchases possible will join the fun. Neighborhood leaders will hand out free ice cream and lead tours into the new areas of the park and will likely do a ribbon cutting.
Scott Morris of the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance said the park expansion will help protect critical areas, including steep slopes and landslide hazard areas, and enhance neighborhood character, as it will make the park more accessible and walkable. The eventual goal is to create a “green loop” of parks around Finn Hill.
The recent acquisition of a half-acre property — two of the Richter parcels located in the center of Juanita Heights Park — was desired “for public park purposes, to expand public use and enjoyment, protect natural resources, and enhance neighborhood connectivity,” according to the city.
The council agreed to a $100,000 purchase and sale agreement for the land, half of which will be funded by the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance.
Kirkland council also voted at its Feb. 6 meeting to purchase 4.1 acres of land in Juanita Heights Park for $620,000.
By raising money from the community and working with the city, the neighborhood alliance was able to secure grant-matching funds from the county. Now that these two purchases are complete, the neighborhood wanted to host an event to “galvanize the community to start making donations…to leverage into more grant funds,” Morris said.
The original 3.44 acre property of Juanita Heights Park was transferred to the city by King County following annexation in 2011. Expansion of Juanita Heights Park to preserve the existing forest is identified in the city of Kirkland’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan and further identified in the adopted Finn Hill Neighborhood Plan.
See finnhillalliance.org for more.