Snohomish County officials break ground on Esperance Park renovations

Snohomish County staff, Esperance neighborhood residents, and park goers celebrated the groundbreaking for Esperance Park improvements.

A little neighborhood’s big vision is becoming a reality as Snohomish County officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday afternoon marking the official start of renovations to Esperance Park

Residents of Esperance, the small unincorporated neighborhood in the southwest corner of Edmonds, came to celebrate the final milestone for the community park located at 7830 222nd St. S.W.

“It’s a well-loved park,” said Snohomish County Councilmember Stephanie Wright, who represents the 3rd District where the park is located. “I’m excited for what this can do for the neighborhood.”

Esperance Park is a 9.6-acre community park with athletic fields, playground areas, open green space and a second-growth forest near the northwest corner with primitive trails. The acreage was originally owned by the Edmonds School District until it was surplused in the late 1980s. Neighborhood activists petitioned the county to secure the property and create a community park.

In 2009, park improvements included the addition of a baseball field, two practice fields and play areas. In 2015, the Snohomish County Council approved the purchase of an additional 3.4 acres from the school district for further enhancements.

Snohomish County Councilmember Stephanie Wright speaks about community involvement during the Esperance Park planning process.

After multiple meetings with the community and receiving feedback, Snohomish County Parks and Recreation staff created a renovation plan based on the neighborhood’s vision for the park. The preliminary design includes a network of accessible walking paths, an off-leash dog park, a multipurpose sports court, a community garden/pea patch, and a forest playground, which will include a zipline. The design also includes enhancements to the woodland and forest trails, a Little League field and parking lot. The existing playground will be relocated and replaced. Improvements to the park’s parking lot and stormwater treatment are also included in the design.

“This is the vision of the community,” Wright said. “This is the park the community built.”

RRJ Construction received the bid for the project in April of this year and construction is expected to begin in the first half of June. Under the contract, the construction company has a 280-day window to complete the project. During that time, sections of the park will not be accessible to the public.

Residents asked if the park would be available to the public for events during the summer, like the annual Esperance Neighborhood Night Out picnic.

“I know they (RRJ Construction) are interested in working with the community on that,” said Tom Teigen, Snohomish County Parks Director.

Since the construction process requires tree removal and replacement, residents were concerned about the environmental impacts of nesting birds. Snohomish County Ranger Supervisor Rich Patton said the county has taken the impacts into consideration and only “trees of concern” will be removed.

“As i recall there are five (trees),” he said, “some of which have already fallen down.”

The project is expected to be completed by spring of 2020.

For more information, visit the Snohomish County web page here.

–Story and photos by Cody Sexton

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