One giant step towards Summit Park becoming reality

The City of Maple Valley prepares for the development of a brand-new park with anticipated opening in early winter 2019.
The City of Maple Valley prepares for the development of a brand-new park with anticipated opening in early winter 2019.

Long in the hope that someday Summit Park would become a reality for the City of Maple Valley, Parks and Recreation Director Greg Brown was handed an early Christmas present when Councilmembers gave their blessing at the beginning of December to make the park a reality.

Purchased from Tahoma School District (THS) in 2006 with the hope of someday developing the 22.75-acre Summit site into a Community Park, the City and Councilmembers began discussing their various options. Then as THS began making plans in 2013 for their new high school, planners realized that they needed a little more land and negotiations with the City began for approximately 8 of the 22 plus acre site.

By 2015, agreements had been reached and the City entered into an Interlocal Agreement with THS that called for the transfer of the 8, plus acre property to the District, in exchange for shared use of the new access road and parking lot, built by the District as part of the high school project. Use of the park by the public would take place after school hours and on weekends.

With a draft plan in hand for the remaining 14 plus acre site, Councilmembers decided to go to the public and ask for funds through a bond to develop the envisioned Community Park. After failing in their first attempt to pass a Parks bond, Councilmembers gave the nod to run another revised bond in February 2017 that refined elements from the first bond.

Rejected once again by the voters, Councilmembers pushed on and directed the Parks and Recreation Commission to come back to them with some suggestions and options for developing the park. By June 14, 2017, the Council had their answer and voted to fund the project through use of City funding sources including Park Development Funds, Real Estate Excise Taxes, the sale of surplus City property, and non-voted Councilmanic debt. Limited grant funding was also secured through King County, and a State grant applied for through the Recreation and Conservation Office as part of the State’s 2018 capital budget.

Currently, the project is in the final stages of design that will include a review by Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) due to a 375-foot easement that bisects the park on a diagonal. It is expected that the project will go to bid in early 2018 with construction starting in early spring 2018 and a completed project by the end of 2018. It is anticipated that early winter 2019 the park will be opened for use by City programs, local youth leagues, Tahoma School District, and hosting of tournaments. The public will enjoy use of the fields when not scheduled with athletics.

The Community Park is located adjacent to the east side of the new Tahoma High School off the Maple Valley Hwy. and to the south as one approaches the high school. It will feature two rectangular synthetic turf multi-purpose lighted athletic fields, one synthetic turf lighted softball field, an off-leash dog park, a playground, a skatepark, a basketball/pickleball court, a restroom/storage building, four picnic shelters, and additional on-site parking. The City is also working with King County Parks to develop a trailhead connection to the Cedar to Green River Trail that will facilitate pedestrian connections through the site.