By Ken Stern 

Special meeting Thursday discusses new Maple Park


April 12, 2022

MAKING PROGRESS ON PARK DESIGN – Landscape architect Curt Miller, center, shared a preliminary design for the 24,000 square foot Maple Avenue Park April 7 ahead of a grant application. – Photo by Ken Stern

Town of La Conner park commissioners met last Thursday with landscape architect Curt Miller to discuss his preliminary design for developing the new Maple Avenue park at Talbott Avenue. Commissioners and Miller are on a fast track to meet a May 3 application deadline for funding from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program through its Recreation and Conservation Office.

The April 7 meeting at the Civic Garden Club brought the five commissioners, Town Administrator Scott Thomas, planner Michael Davolio and four greater La Conner residents to review Miller’s drawings and hear his proposal for developing the 24,000 square foot lot on the north side of the new Landed Gentry 10 home subdivision.

The park area was retained by the Town following its buying and selling the nearly two-acre Hedlin property ballfield site to the developer.

In his introductory remarks, Parks Commission Chair Ollie Iversen said the panel is closely following public input received from a citizens’ survey circulated in 2021 that sought ideas for use of the new park.

Miller’s design landscapes the park with trees and shrubs on the perimeter and creates swales for drainage. The front third bordering Maple and Talbott avenues and extending east will be developed as a children’s play area with a base of wood chips. The eastern thirds will remain a grass field. There may be benches looking across the Hedlin farm to the mountains.

Miller, contracted by the town council at its March 22 meeting, sought responses to move forward with cost estimates for the grant proposal.

Thursday’s meeting, Iversen said, was “to make sure the parks commission has an opportunity to review the drawings” for the grant application.” He again emphasized that the design is to reflect residents interests as expressed in last summer’s survey. Over 350 people responded. Survey results are on the town website.

Miller offered a fair amount of detail, ranging from the quantity of sand for drainage to “engineered wood fiber” for the play area and options for play equipment, but he had not developed a budget. He noted that children’s play areas are designed to be appropriate for different age groups.

He offered a paper and toothpick model for a shade covering that sought to merge design, function and whimsy.

Creating parking on Talbott came up, as did a drinking fountain, that with access for dogs, adult and meeting ADA standards (Americans with Disabilities Act).

The proposal is due in 23 days. Many decisions were still needed after the meeting and the budget is only one variable. A sprinkling system and lights have to be decided upon, for instance.

Discussion included the physical transition and the five feet width between the park and the 10 homes and options for fencing. Landed Gentry has certain prescribed requirements for fencing. The Town will landscape its side of the property. Asked what was negotiable, Thomas responded “anything is negotiable,” but both sides have to come to an agreement.

Miller later noted that the subdivision will completely block the view of residents across the street, saying “their view is gone,” whether the new homes are one or two story.

The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program provides funding for local and state parks for a broad range of land protection and outdoor recreation. Project application evaluations are in August with preliminary approval in October then sent to the governor. Funds are awarded in June 2023.


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