In preparation for an updated Parks District System Plan, the Si View Metropolitan Parks District held an open house on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the Si View Community Center to receive feedback from residents on important projects for the future of the district.
Travis Stombaugh, executive director of the park district, said the last comprehensive plan the district used was from 2006 and this update, currently scheduled for early 2017, is necessary to address the issues of the rapidly changing Valley.
“We do have one… it’s about 11 years old,” he said. “We’ve accomplished a lot of the things that were already in there. So that’s why we are looking to update it. It needs a refresh. Priorities change, obviously our population in the Upper Valley has changed, and the needs of that population have changed so we are updating it to make it relevant.”
The event featured large comment boards for visitors to write about what they felt was important for the future of the parks district. Among the feedback were comments about furthering the development of park and trail facilities, an expanded swimming pool and aquatic center, trail connections, and partnering with the city to improve Torguson Park.
The open house was just one way the district is looking for feedback. They have also hired Conservation Technix, a consulting firm that assists with planning, surveys and property acquisitions. In June Conservation Technix did two surveys, one for North Bend residents and one for Snoqualmie residents, to gather information on how people used the park facilities and what they would like to see from the district in the future.
Feedback: trails and pool are priorities
One of the big projects Si View has been looking at is linking the various trails around the area. They are looking for feedback on possible partnerships with the various land-owning agencies in the Valley in order to help connect the trails.
“You have King County out here, the city of North Bend, the state, DNR, state parks, federal parks. Where do you want us to fit in that?” Stombaugh said. “We will always mainly stay within our boundaries but should we be partnering with these other agencies and how so? Do the residents want to see more trails? There are a lot of missing links in the trail systems out here. Do they want to see us be an advocate, lead, or partner in linking those trails together?”
The community center’s pool was another recurring topic; as the overall population has increased, the pool facilities are no longer adequate. Since the pool is small for the population of the Upper Valley, Stombaugh said one of the projects being looked at is a regional family aquatic center.
Steve Duh of Conservation Technix was at the open house and spoke about the feedback the agency has received so far.
“I think the thing people are most interested in are things having to do with trail connectivity, low-cost recreation, as well as looking at options for either a new or expanded pool. Those are the two big ones,” Duh said. “It’s pretty clear that people are very favorable to the efforts the district is putting forward for recreation programming and for providing the pool and park space here.”
As feedback is collected, Conservative Technix works with the district to process and discuss the data. The district will use the data to form its plan and outline future priorities.
“Then we will be meeting as a board and district and reviewing that data,” Stombaugh said. “We will come back with a recommendation and then we will, hopefully, have a comprehensive plan. It will line out strategies for moving forward and the priorities that we’ve identified in the district, (by the) early part of 2017.”
To keep the conversation about Si View Parks improvements going, the district is using the online platform mySidewalk.com to speak with people interested in the district who might not have been able to come to the open house. To get the latest updates and leave feedback, visit www.siviewpark.org/compplan.html.