The city of Kirkland is in the design phase for a project that will look to improve stormwater management and add amenities in 132nd Square Park.
Before construction is expected in summer 2020, the city is doing a community outreach effort that has so far involved a neighborhood meeting, an open house and an online survey.
The need to enhance stormwater infrastructure in the the Totem Lake and Juanita Basin drainage systems was the “catalyst” for the project, said Kellie Stickney, communications program manager for the city. Heavy rains and snowmelt can overwhelm the drainage systems, flooding streets, sidewalks and homes in the area.
The plan was to put a water filtration system underneath one of the ballfields at the nearby park, which involves “opening up the ground in a pretty major way,” said Lynn Zwaagstra, Kirkland’s parks and community services director.
The city saw an opportunity to consider other amenities that could be installed over the completed stormwater project, like synthetic turf and overhead lights. It also decided to initiate a master plan process to fully consider the usefulness of the park to both neighbors and the broader community.
“There’s a lot of people who use the park, and love the park,” Zwaagstra said, and the city wants to understand what people like about the amenities and how they can be improved.
132nd Square Park is one of Kirkland’s seven community parks. It is about 10 acres and has two ballfields, a playground, a parking lot, restrooms, a small picnic shelter, some pathways and, according to neighbors, a “fantastic sledding hill.”
“Any time we’re going to develop a park, we do a master plan and that helps for a lot of reasons,” Zwaagstra said. “It gives us design concepts that we can then seek funding for. You can’t apply for grants if you don’t know what you’re building and approximately at what cost.”
The stormwater part of the project is partly funded by a Department of Ecology grant and King County flood control fund, said Aparna Khanal, senior project engineer. The city may also pursue funding from the youth athletic field grant program, as the ballfield is expected to cost between $3 million and $5 million.
Zwaagstra said that Kirkland’s most recent Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) plan, last updated in 2015, identified the need for additional ballfields and a desire to convert some fields to synthetic turf.
“In this wet climate, [turf] increases playability of the field and it also gives you a greatly expanded season,” Zwaagstra said. “We already had a project identified to rehab this specific field…That project was put on hold knowing that field would be dug up in a year or two.”
The stormwater project presented the “perfect opportunity” to reinstate project and consider synthetic turf, she said.
The project is in an early phase of design right now and construction should take six to nine months. The city expects to go out for bids this spring or summer.
In mid-March, a consultant hired by the city tested soil in the park to understand how water moves through it. When construction starts in spring of 2020, crews will be doing extensive digging in the park to create a large underground vault for managing stormwater flows.
Interested parties can comment online, or at any Kirkland City Council or Park Board meeting, Stickney said.
See 132ndsquarepark.participate.online for more.