Fields, parking and trails in master plan for park

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

A master plan for expansions and improvements to Allan Yorke Park is on the drawing board and is beginning to take shape.

Eric Schmidt of Cascade Design Collaborative, Inc. in Seattle was hired by the city to come up with a plan for improvements to the park.

The consulting firm has met with city staff, the park board and the City Council at the May 17 workshop. The plan encompasses the 21.5-acre park, the boat launch, ball field four and the nearly 13-acre Moriarty property next to the park that is going through the condemnation process.

"We started by trying to expand and compliment the existing park," Schmidt said. "We want to offer a full spectrum of recreation, both passive and active."

With summer just around the corner, the boat launch is an immediate issue at the park.

The council budgeted $100,000 for improvements and expansions to the boat launch, which includes striping and increasing the number of parking stalls. The parking area holds about 25 to 30 boat trailers now and would be increased to more than 40.

Assistant Public Works Director Gary Leaf said the city intends to start work on the boat launch parking as soon as possible.

Other elements of the park plan include three multi-purpose fields that may include baseball and soccer fields.

"I think this is a great start," Councilman Neil Johnson said. "I want to see soccer fields added and fast pitch fields. We are seeing the fruits of the council's labor. We've been pushing for this."

Along with the added fields, Schmidt said a trail is in the plan that would wind through the wetland area at the south edge of the park and on the Moriarty property.

"Parents could walk the trail for exercise while their kids play ball," Schmidt said. "There could be a natural refuge and educational opportunities along the trail."

According to city estimates, natural grass fields cost about $150,000 to build, while artificial turf cost $750,000. Natural turf cost about $20,000 per year in maintenance. An artificial turf field will need replacement every eight years at a cost of $350,000. One advantage of artificial turf is it will tolerate more intensive activities.

The City Council approved a $24,000 contract with the consulting firm for the master plan Jan. 11.

The plan is still in the design phase and Schmidt said more details will be available in the coming weeks.

The Moriarty property, which was owned by Schurr Brothers Construction, was condemned by the city May 25.

Condemnation is a lawsuit that allows a city to take land for the greater public good. The city must pay fair market value to the owner. The price is decided either by negotiation or by a jury.

The lawsuit is currently in the deposition phase and a trail date is set for July 25.

Dennis Box can be reached at

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