North Bend proposes trail, parks expansion

North Bend’s park and trail facilities could be expanded and improved, if two proposals are enacted. The additions would fill in existing gaps, better integrating the city’s trails with the rest of Snoqualmie Valley, and provide new facilities to keep up with anticipated growth.

No parks or trails had been added during North Bend’s development moratorium, which ended last month. Without the ban, the city’s population is expected to grow, and new facilities will be needed to keep pace.

The parks department has proposed a plan to add more than five miles to its already extensive trails network, several recreational facilities — such as baseball fields and tennis courts ­— and two community parks by 2015. The plan is estimated to cost just under $1.7 million. North Bend is hosting a parks workshop on Wednesday, May 27, to get community input on the plan.

The existing trail network has “a lot of breaks in it,” said Mike McCarty, a North Bend planner.

Two top projects are Tollgate Farm and the levee trail, an unofficial trail along the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

Si View Metropolitan Parks District is leading an effort to enhance a 13.7 acre parcel of Tollgate Farm — which was named for a toll bridge across the South Fork which collected money to maintain the wagon road over Snoqualmie Pass. The district is considering building trails and playing fields for baseball and soccer on what is now cow pasture near North Bend Way, according to Travis Stobvaugh, a Si View official.

The rest of the farm’s 200-plus acres in North Bend is held in conservation easements and would remain open space.

A bond worth $6 to $8 million for construction at Tollgate and other areas is expected to be on the ballot in 2010, Stomvaugh said.

The parks district is planning to host workshops later in the year to prioritize its projects.

Tollgate Farm is part of a wildlife corridor which stretches from Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest across the Snoqualmie Valley to the Cedar River Watershed.

The city wants to fill in gaps in the undeveloped trail on the South Fork levee. In late April, the city council passed legislation requiring developers to help complete the trail. It applied only to development along the levee and didn’t specify how much land developers must dedicate for open space.

North Bend is exploring buying 2.5 miles of Burlington Northern Railroad’s right of way by North Bend Way, south of Torguson Park. The land would be used to extend the Tanner Trail and could cost $2 million, much of which could come from a state grant.

The proposed additions are part of the city’s efforts to attract the region’s outdoor recreational market.

“It’s more reason North Bend will be a draw — its gems, its parks,” he said.

But the trails are also a transportation network, said McCarty, who bikes to work from his Snoqualmie home.

“These parks are not just for us but for our children and grandchildren,” he added.

The parks workshop is at 6:30 p.m. May 27, at the North Bend Train Depot.

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