March 20 | Park Signs, Lake Boren Master Plan Implementation and More
Posted on 03/23/2018

The Newcastle City Council roundups offer a digest of notable items for those who can't make it to the regular meetings. Listen to the audio from the March 20 meeting here and view the meeting agenda packet here.

Lake Boren Park Master Plan Implementation

After an extensive public engagement process, the Newcastle City Council adopted the Lake Boren Park Master Plan in 2016. The document serves as a long-range plan to guide future park improvements, big and small.

Through the course of several public outreach opportunities, citizens identified priorities for future park enhancements. Park users indicated they wanted more chances to experience a greater connection to the lake itself, see more flexible open spaces and gain access to newly acquired lands that expand the park, to name a few of the preferences.

Work to implement the vision summarized in the 2016 plan is well underway. The project is currently in the design phase and the City Council got a look at some initial drawings covering the areas south and east of Lake Boren at the March 20 meeting. 

Under the current design contract, the city is working with a consultant to produce very initial designs for areas just south and east of the lake. Known as the “30 percent” design level, these renderings will set the groundwork for future design phases and include useful base information about the site, such as topography and tree inventory. The key project elements of this proposed design include a new pathway along the lake shoreline, a shelter looking toward the lake, an off-leash dog area and more. See a map of the area covered here.

The contract also includes a full, shovel ready, “100 percent” design of a subproject area adjacent to the south and southeast shoreline of the lake. The big feature of this project is an elevated boardwalk that would go out over wetland vegetation and provide views of the south end of the lake. The design also features a concrete pathway that includes a portion of a seat wall where people can sit and face the water. See a map of the subproject area here.

The city is applying for a state grant through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program that would offer matching funds to construct the subproject area. Applications for the highly competitive local parks category are due later this year and grants are awarded in July 2019.

“These improvements allow park users to access natural areas of the park, both wooded and wetland, and really allow people to experience the sights, sounds and smells of this environment, which is distinctly different from the open lawn character of the main body of the park,” city Project Planner Julie Cassata wrote in her presentation to the City Council.

View the March 20 staff presentation about project implementation, which includes more details about the designs, here. Learn more about the Lake Boren Park Master Plan and get the latest updates on its implementation here.

Consistent Signage Coming to All City Parks

City Project Planner Julie Cassata also presented the designs for new city park signs during the meeting.

The goal of the park sign construction project is to ensure there is consistent signage across the entire city park system. There are 17 parks in Newcastle, but the current signage varies. Some have green entry signs, others have developer-designed signs absent of regulatory information, and some don’t have any signage. 

A subcommittee of the all-volunteer Community Activities Commission has been working with city staff to come up with recommendations for the scope, character and design of the signs. Consistency in graphics and regulatory information, a physical structure design that’s safe for the public and completing the project at a reasonable cost, were all important project objectives.

During the CAC’s February meeting, Cassata shared four consultant-designed options for the signs. After reviewing and discussing the alternatives, the CAC recommended the design pictured here. The signs will have a maroon background with white lettering. With safety in mind, the entry signs will be outfitted in a powder-coated metal frame with 90-degree edges that make for a safer alternative to exposed sheet-metal edges. Additionally, the signs will receive a special coating to guard against vandalism. The project is expected to go to bid for fabrication later this year, with a goal to start installation by the end of 2018. 

“I like the design of the sign. I think it will really add a lot to our parks, and to have that level of consistency throughout the parks will be great. I’m looking forward to getting them installed,” Deputy Mayor Linda Newing said at the meeting.

View the park sign presentation from the meeting here.

Other Notes

• City Manager Rob Wyman noted that the city has received its first tenant improvement permit for a business in The Shops at Newcastle Commons. The drive-thru Starbucks is the first to apply for this particular permit, so it will likely be the first one to open in that development. 

• The City Council discussed the possibility of switching to a biennial budgeting process but did not express a strong interest in pursuing a change at this time. In a staff presentation, Finance Director Don Palmer summarized the pros and cons of such a transition. Biennial budgeting requires a significant amount of work at the beginning of each biennium and a conversion to that process must start on Jan. 1 in odd-numbered years.

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