Council reviews additional Civic Field design changes; final plan expected soon

Responding to community feedback on the latest proposal for redesigning Civic Field, City of Edmonds Parks Director Carrie Hite and consultant Chris Jones unveiled a revised plan at Tuesday night’s Edmonds City Council meeting that includes keeping the skateboard park in its current location and adding two more petanque courts — for a total of six–  in the park’s southwest corner.

“The most controversial siting in the hybrid plan was the skate park,” Jones said, noting concerns from residents about noise if the park were relocated to the north end of Civic Field as proposed. Instead, Jones proposed keeping the skate park where it is currently — further away from the residences — and instead place a quieter picnic space at the park’s north end.

In reviewing citizen comments to the hybrid plan — essentially a combination of two earlier proposals for the park redesign — Jones acknowledged the concerns from some residents who fear for the safety of children playing in the park because the proposed design relies on a landscaped buffer to separate the park from the alleys bordering it.

“Some people proposed putting fence on the park boundary but I am a vehement advocate against that,” Jones said. “It doesn’t create a welcoming sense to the park…the sense that says, ‘Don’t come into the park. We don’t want you here.'”

However, Jones told the council he is happy to engage the community to further address these concerns as the park design process progresses.

Jones noted that some residents living near the park also are unhappy about a proposal to shift the location of the tennis courts in the northwest corner  The tennis courts currently abut an alley, with a fence along the property line, and there is also a fence along 6th Avenue North that “is not in great condition” and needs to be replaced, Jones said. Walker Macy has proposed moving the tennis courts 30 feet to the east and putting a fence on the north side. One possibility for mitigating concerns about view obstruction caused by the fence is to have very transparent fencing or perhaps a type of netting that can be lowered when the courts aren’t in use, Jones said, adding that he welcomes “engaging the community to come up with a solution.”

Following the presentation, councilmembers had an opportunity to ask questions of Jones and Parks Director Hite, then turned the microphones over to several citizens, whose comments generally reflected what Jones had already outlined as public concerns.

Councilmember Dave Teitzel noted that the plans call for several “noise-generating activities” — including the tennis court, skate park and a possible basketball/sport court — clustered in the park’s northwest corner, which is closest to the residents. Would it be possible to place the tennis courts at the park’s south end, where the grandstands are currently located, thus spreading the noisier activities throughout the park, Teitzel asked.

“It’s definitely something we could explore,” Jones said, adding however that moving the tennis courts south would likely require the amphitheater now planned for that space to also move, which would then affect the playground.

At the end of the presentation, Hite asked if councilmembers had any major changes to the revised plan; otherwise, she would have Walker Macy “polish this up” and bring back to the council as a final master plan for possible adoption.

Councilmembers said they generally agreed with the ideas presented, including the revised location of the skate park and the landscaping rather than fencing along the park border. Councilmember Mike Nelson added that he supported a comment made during public hearing that suggested that the new skate park be designed by someone who has professional expertise in designing such facilities.

You can see a summary of the plan and related documents here.

The council also:

– Held a public hearing regarding the Snohomish County Hazard Mitigation Plan. No one signed up to testify, and councilmembers unanimously passed a resolution to adopt the plan. That action paves the way for it to be officially approved by the Federal Emergency Management Administration, making the city eligible to receive federal funding for disaster preparedness and recovery.

– Talked briefly about the agenda for the council’s annual retreat, set for Jan. 20-21 in the Plaza Room of the Edmonds Library. Council President Tom Mesaros invited citizens to attend the retreat, which begin at noon Jan. 20. A full agenda will be posted soon on the city website.

— By Teresa Wippel


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