Council set to approve parks plan and OK contract for restoration of Perrinville Creek

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Mathay Ballinger Park Playground.

After passing three amendments aimed at improving parks and recreation facilities in the Lake Ballinger neighborhood of Edmonds, Edmonds City Council agreed on Tuesday evening to register the Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Plan (PROS ) of the city on the June 14 council agenda for approval.

The PROS Plan is a six-year guide to managing the city’s parks, open spaces, trails and recreational opportunities. On Tuesday evening, Director of Parks, Recreation, Cultural and Social Services Angie Feser presented proposed changes to the draft plan which were intended to address concerns expressed by council members who wanted the plan to make the subject to further review and comment.

The changes, which were crafted by Feser and a consultant based on previous council guidance, focused on Chapter 9 of the PROS plan, regarding capital planning and implementation. (You can see the document here.) Feser explained that she used as a starting point a list of possible revisions provided by Board Chair Vivian Olson, which was based on extensive public comments received about the PROS plan. .

“They’ve all been considered,” Feser said of Olson’s suggested revisions. “Some have been incorporated, some have not, some have been modified and incorporated. I considered this to be board input and feedback, just like any emails or comments I received from other board members.

Council member Susan Paine expressed concern that the list “has not been given more public scrutiny”. Council member Laura Johnson agreed, noting that the initial public participation process for the PROS plan included several community engagement efforts in multiple languages ​​and “was transparent and we knew where it came from.”

“We don’t have that public process or that understanding of where this (list of suggestions) came from,” she added.

Olson said the list she provided reflected community feedback that the initial draft PROS plan needed to place more emphasis on environmental protection. “I feel great about this change and contribution from the board, and I hope my fellow board members will too,” she said. “I thought the process honored the input of citizens.”

The draft PROS plan also emphasizes providing parks and recreation amenities to previously neglected neighborhoods in South Edmonds and the Highway 99/Lake Ballinger areas. Council member Will Chen, who lives near Lake Ballinger, asked that maintenance considerations be prioritized for water access on the Edmonds side of the lake, a narrow strip of grass and mud that features a broken bench for those who want to fish there. Chen added that he would also like to see a fishing pier installed on the Edmonds side, in keeping with the PROS plan’s focus on equity for underserved neighborhoods.

Feser noted that determining the best location for such a pier and associated shoreline permit issues would take time to sort out. One option could be to work with the City of Mountlake Terrace to coordinate access to the northwest end of Ballinger Park, which belongs to Mountlake Terrace but borders Edmonds. In the end, council unanimously approved an amendment to work with the Town of Mountlake Terrace to explore recreational opportunities on the Edmonds side of Ballinger Lake.

Laura Johnson then proposed two other initiatives for the neighborhood. The first was to explore options for acquiring property to create a satellite community center in the Lake Ballinger/South Edmonds area. This passed by a vote of 4 to 3 (council members Chen, Diane Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson opposed). The second was to ensure that replacing play structures at Mathay Ballinger Park – the only park in the district – was the city’s top priority for upgrades to play equipment. It went 6-1, with Kristiana Johnson opposite.

The board – which had voted to extend its meeting to 10:30 p.m. – voted 5-2 at 10:29 p.m. to place the PROS plan on next week’s consent agenda for final approval. Council members Buckshnis and Laura Johnson voted against.

In other business Tuesday night, the council approved a contract with Environmental Science Associates (ESA) for $909,919 to develop a plan to control flooding on Perrinville Creek between Talbot Road and Puget Sound. Heavy rain and sediment washed out the creek several times in December 2020 and January 2021. A city diversion dam failed, pushing water up Talbot Road and flooding three properties.

The plan is to design a new tentative stream bed alignment for lower Perrinville Creek, with much larger culvert openings, while a final plan is completed. Three new stream configurations have been proposed to allow the creek to manage water and not affect salmon spawning.

Acting Director of Public Works Rob English noted that $100,000 of the contract will cover the interim solution, while the rest will pay for 60% of the design of a long-term plan to deal with flooding. Money for the contract comes from Edmonds’ allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, but staff said Tuesday they plan to apply for grants for the additional work, once a final solution will have been developed.

The board also:

– Received the annual report of the Edmonds Youth Commission, including a tribute to its seven senior graduates.

– Approved a resolution condemning gun violence and racial hatred.

– Confirmed under its consent program the nomination of three nominees to the Edmonds board and commission: Sam Spencer for the Historic Preservation Commission, Yuri Nishiyama for the Sister City Commission and Gillian Young for the Accommodation Tax Advisory Committee.

Two other items on the agenda – concerning the update of the tree code and a study of riparian issues – were postponed due to lack of time to re-examine them.

— By Teresa Wippel

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