Civic Park hybrid plan unveiled at third open house

An overview of what the hybrid design would look like.
An overview of the proposed hybrid design, which centers around a large multi-use lawn area suitable for both youth soccer and large-scale events. The play area is in the middle foreground, with the skate park to the right. Lawn terraces, far left, would replace the current wooden grandstands, and six petanque courts would be located in the upper left corner. The Boys and Girls Club building, upper center, would be enlarged but would remain.
Those attending Wednesday night’s third and final open house in the Edmonds Civic Park Playfield design process got a first look at a hybrid plan aimed at incorporating the most desired features of two earlier designs.

“I have to confess I’ve seen a peek at the plan and my view of the world is, I think it’s fabulous,” Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling said in introductory remarks before the plan was unveiled in the Edmonds Library Plaza Room. “It may not be exactly the way you envisioned it, but it answers so many questions and so many requests.“

During the first open house in June and a second in August, the mission of city staff, consultants from Walker Macy and the citizen-based project advisory committee has been to gather input to develop a final design for the 8-acre site — purchased in late 2015 from the Edmonds School District — that included features desired by the attendees.

Chris Jones of Walker Macy begins the overview.
Chris Jones of Walker Macy begins the project overview.
“Everything is really based on community input,” said Chris Jones of Walker Macy, who noted that the process started with 400 ideas shared by attendees during the first open house. “We’re hearing you and doing the best we can with the amount of land we have.”

The two designs released during the second open house included the more passive Meadow Loop — favored by 35 percent of those attending both in-person and online open houses — and the more active Activity Central, which was the favorite of 65 percent of attendees. The hybrid design unveiled Wednesday was an effort to combine the best of both earlier designs, including slightly elevated lawn terraces for event viewing, sinuous walking trails and a large multi-use lawn area.

The project framework focuses on a landscape buffer for park edges next to residential areas and a "civic edge," including a plaza area facing 6th Avenue.
The project framework focuses on a landscape buffer for park edges next to residential areas and a “civic edge,” including a plaza area facing 6th Avenue.
Lara Rose, the project’s lead design principal, explained that the goal in combining the two designs was to retain some of the soft edges from Option 1 while accommodating rectangular features such as sport courts. The hybrid design includes walking paths that meander through gently rolling berms, plus exercise stations built into a track that circles the park perimeter.

“While not a formal running track, it is a perfect third of mile and so if you run three loops you have run one mile,” Rose said.

h4_tNestled into the berms are a picnic area, a skate park and a large play area. Curved view terraces, replacing aging wooden grandstands now on the site, overlook the playing field/festival space. There is a small shade pavilion with restrooms and park storage, and six petanque courts set in a grove of trees.

The skate park, which would replace the one currently at Civic Field, would be sunk at just below grade with berms providing sound protection, Rose explained.

The 5,000-square-foot Boys and Girls Club building currently on the site would be remodeled to provide more space — two options include a “modest expansion” to 12,000 square feet connected to the existing building or a larger, 20,000-square-foot facility, “maybe at the far end of the park,” Rose said.

h6_tProject consultants also paid particular attention to the way different-sized events could work in the park, ranging from large-scale activities such as the A Taste of Edmonds and the Fourth of July fireworks to smaller musical or theater performances, Rose explained.

“Many people have given us feedback on the Taste and the Fourth of July– some strongly in favor, some strongly opposed — and what we have done is create a space that is fairly flexible but not specifically designed for the Taste,” Rose said.

A new idea that came up since the last open house was creating a “festival street” along 6th Avenue that would include nicer paving, lower curbs and trees. Such a design “signals to cars you are in a pedestrian zone and is also designed in a way that can be set up for markets and festivals and events,” Jones explained.

Attendees were given an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the formal presentation, and they focused on the following:

Sports field lighting:  A question was raised about the soccer field lights shown in the current hybrid design, since they interrupt the “flow” of the meadow design. Rose said the team would investigate whether it would be possible to relocate the lights to either end of the field rather than in the middle.

Fencing: Residents living next to the park expressed safety concerns about the lack of fencing between the park and Bell and Daley streets. Jones replied that based on community feedback, fences weren’t planned for the park; instead, landscaping would be used to direct people to certain locations for park entry and exit. “There’s a lot of interest in keeping this park as porous a possible so we just have to look at balancing the needs of adjacent owners who are concerned about safety and other community’s interest who doesn’t live net door to the park,” Jones said.

Location of the skate park: Nearby residents said they were worried about noise concerns related to the skate park, which is located near town homes and condos. Rose said it’s possible the location of the play area and the skate park could be flipped to address that concern. In fact, the consultants urged citizens to offer comments regarding relocation of any program elements, since the design provides for flexibility.

Park maintenance: Noting that the new design contains a large amount of green space and landscaping, a citizen asked if that would increase park maintenance. Jones said the consultants have been working with parks maintenance staff on the design, adding that “definitely a park of this size and caliber will have more maintenance requirements. It will increase and we are keeping that in mind as we go forward.”

Parking: An audience member asked if parking would be incorporated into the park design. While parking is a challenge in Edmonds, “it was determined early on we did not want to take up valuable park space with parking, Jones said. The city may be able to add six or seven new on-street parking spaces on 6th and 7th Avenues as a result of the park redesign, he added.

Meeting attendees view hybrid design plans.
Meeting attendees view and discuss hybrid design plans.
After the Q and A session, attendees were able to view the design elements on poster boards placed around the room, adding stickers to their favorite elements.

According to Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite, those who couldn’t attend Wednesday’s open house can participate in a virtual open house for the next two weeks at this web address:

Next, the Civic Field project advisory committee will meet “to dissect all of the public input and give guidance to our consultant team,” Hite said.

Finally, the plan will come before both the Edmonds Planning Board and City Council with public hearings in November:

  • Planning Board Meeting and Public Hearing, Wednesday, Nov. 9
  • City Council Meeting and Public Hearing, Tuesday, Nov. 22

The hope is to have City Council approval of a final plan by the first quarter of 2017, Jones said.

— By Teresa Wippel




  1. The concern about the Skate Park is misplaced. The many times we’ve walked near the park, played tennis in the park, etc., confirms this fact. The folks near the Park have always been bugged by the presence of the Skate Park, and just assume it will be loud, when it’s not. It is not louder than any other function or activity that occurs there, and in fact was designed with features that ‘quiet down’ the skating activity that goes on there. The folks in the condos just need to relax and enjoy the entire park, now and in the future.

  2. I respectfully disagree with Jim.

    There is no sound protection in the air ABOVE the skate park. The features that “quiet down” the skate park may work well for one-story residences, but not 3-story buildings where sound is telegraphed straight up. Regardless of where the skate park is located, sound transmission to taller buildings IS an issue.

    Contrary to what Jim thinks, most of the residents around the park accept the skate park and understand the need for this type of recreation. In fact, most of us support all active, recreational uses of the park as long as they are located well away from residences, particularly along the north and south edges of Civic Field where the park edge is 17-20 feet from residential property lines.
    I do support the skate park, but I think that the buffer zone between this day/evening high-density activity and nearby buildings is too close in the new location that is being proposed.

    The City and its contractors are faced with many competing interests in using the park and they have done a commendable job in coming up with compromises. But I do think something more could be done to distance the skate park from nearby residential buildings.

  3. I agree with Pat that the noise level of the skate park is even a problem now in its current location as the skate board clacking noise goes on from morning to dusk. I live nearby, so by moving even closer to residences doesn’t make sense.

  4. There has been some discussion about swapping the location of the skate park with the playground area, which would have a better noise buffer with the trees.

  5. I agree 100% with Pat Woodell’s comment. There definitely needs to be a substantial buffer between the Daley St. and Bell St. alleys along the North and South sides of the Civic Field. As far as Daley St. is concerned, switching the Skate park location with the Playground area in the current layout would be make a lot of sense.

  6. I do not agree with changing the location of the skate park. I live on Daley and we hear them day and night but not to the point it’s a bother. Moving it closer would be a disaster.

    We also need to keep a fence between the park and Daley St alley. I can not tell you how many times coming out of my building, I’ve been startled by some stranger cutting thru our property. Also, when backing out of our garages, there’s a safety issue now. The alley is only 17 -20 ft. wide. A fence is needed.

  7. Unless you live adjacent to the park, it is hard to understand how clearly we hear everything, even from the 3rd floor the conversations of folks walking down the alley. The park is our front windows and we have delighted in having a front row seat to many park activities. We’ve been grateful for the careful attention the park has paid to the current position of the skateboard area, and in trying to maintain the noise-abatement pads. To now consider placing the skate board park directly beneath our windows would have a severe impact on us and our investment in our home.

  8. The proposed move of the skate board park from its current neutral location would result in noise levels totally unacceptable to most residents on Daley st and 7th ave.
    For years we have supported the activities relative to the skate bd park. The move has so many negatives that it surprised residents who have followed this process. Noise, safety,and property devaluation!

  9. We own a unit on the third floor of the Shelbourne, located at 636 Daley St. Our unit faces south, towards Civic Park. We enjoy the soccer and other sports which occur in the evenings and on weekends. We also enjoy 4th of July and the Children’s Circus. But we were alarmed to hear that a plan was proposed to place the skating pit in front of our unit. The facility is already loud where it is located, since the sound is directed upward. The noise would be disturbing to us if the facility were moved closer. The noise would only be compounded by berms directing the sound upwards toward our windows. Please leave it where it is and turn it 90%.

  10. I respectfully disagree with Jim Underhill. The skate park noise is very different at ground level from up above street level. Even the existing skate park noise is heard by all of the above street level condos on Daley Street. This includes those facing north because the sound bounces off the buildings on the north side of Daley. I sincerely hope the noisy park elements will be located away from all residences.

  11. Those of us who live on Bell Street alley also hear the clacking of skateboards and request the skate park be located as far from all residential properties as possible. We need to have fences on both alleys. We’ve always felt the fence on the Bell Street side has helped deter people from walking onto or through our property as they enter or leave the playfield. Most of us on the Bell Street side must park our cars outside in our driveways and having the fence adds a level of security. We also sometimes see dogs running around unleashed in the Civic playfield and a fence prevents them from doing their business on our property. Finally, the Bell Street alley has long been plagued by non-residents parking in the alley. Because of that, cars driven by residents have a difficult time getting through, and it would be next to impossible for an ambulance or firetruck to get through. When the new park opens bringing with it more people to the area, we hope that “no parking” signs will be posted and parking laws enforced in the alleyways.

  12. What is the Signature of our new Civic Park? I don’t know; I can’t see it yet.

    Like many Edmond’s residents, we was dumbfounded last Wednesday night at the Open House when Walker Macy unveiled their Hybrid Park proposal. Why would an experienced design firm locate the highest density, active use elements of a park immediately adjacent to private properties closest to the perimeter of the park? Or was this reputable design firm trying merely to deliver what the community wanted? All I can surmise is we have been given 15 pounds of goodies for a 10 pound bag! Perhaps we’ve gotten too greedy, wanting everything we can possibly have crammed into our eight acre park. The Hybrid Park proposal presented last week lacks the meaningful vision and creativity required to produce a Signature Park for our city.

    Walker Macy’s accomplishment of incorporating 36 of the 40 identified activities in their Hybrid Plan (Oct 19th) is simply not enough to create an aesthetically pleasing, Signature Park. Have we handcuffed our designers? Where is the spark of joy and creativity of our Signature Park?

    While we support the concept of a ‘park for all ages’ we must ask ourselves if we need all things for each age group separately? What is the value added to the Civic Park of yet another play structure for our youngsters? The giant carpet of the Great Lawn and the excitement of a water feature accommodates all ages, just as tennis courts offer an amenity for all ages. On the other hand, the multiuse court is primarily used by The Boys and Girls club and is rarely used by others. Is a second court really needed? Do our residents want to shrink the limited open space used by all to double the size of the Boys and Girls Club? The skateboard park is unique and offers a vital public space for teens away from parents and older folks. From a distance the skate park, and the skateboarder, offer a pleasing sculptural three dimensional element to the park. While a climbing wall is simply a wall – close up and faraway. We have climbing walls in other parks which appear under utilized. The Petanque courts serve our older residents and can be designed as an attractive sitting area for all park visitors.

    This Master Plan indicates a string of light down the center of the Great Lawn. Why would the Council and Planning Committee approve a plan prior to the lighting design consultation? Lighting is foundational to ALL design aspects of a Signature Park.

    In summary; some big pieces and fundamental concepts are missing here. We are looking at a once in 50 years- or more opportunity in the heart of our city. Let’s make sure our council and city officials are voting on a finished design and a truly visionary park.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Gretchen Sewall and Peter Watson

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