Big changes for Allan Yorke park underway

Allan Yorke Park is about to get a major makeover. During the July 19 council workshop, the Bonney Lake City Council listened to a presentation by Bruce Dees & Associates about the park's new master plan, which details various improvements and overhauls the Bonney Lake community said it wanted.

The Allan Yorke Master Plan splits the park into four quadrants

Allan Yorke Park is about to get a major makeover.

During the July 19 council workshop, the Bonney Lake City Council listened to a presentation by Bruce Dees & Associates about the park’s new master plan, which details various improvements and overhauls the Bonney Lake community said it wanted.

The entirety of this project is expected to cost upward of $16.3 million.

The master plan has been in the works for months with Bruce Dees, the principal of Bruce Dees & Associates, and an ad hoc committee consisting of council members and the city’s Park Commission. Public meetings began back in April so the public could give their input on the preliminary design of the plan.

The ad hoc committee also used 2015 survey information from students and Bonney Lake residents to decide which improvements should be prioritized and which to put off.

“The community really came out to give input on this,” Dees said after his presentation.

A general consensus on the preliminary master plan was reached on June 13.

After the presentation by Dees and landscape architect Rachel Lingard, the council could barely contain their enthusiasm.

“This is the best thing I’ve seen in years,” Councilman James Rackley said.

“This is a good plan. All the elements are good,” Mayor Neil Johnson agreed. “It’s gone through a lot of work, a lot of research.”

The master plan divides Allan Yorke Park into four main areas, each with their own improvements.

North Park is everything north of Bonney Lake Boulevard, including the city’s Public Works building and the Senior Center.

Central Park is comprised of the current staging area for Tunes @ Tapps, the two baseball fields and the children’s play area.

South Park encompasses the tennis courts and land south of the gazebo close to West Tapps Highway, and East Park is composed of everything east of the gazebo and the boat trailer parking.

There are many plans and improvements, both big and small, so here are just the highlights.

North Park

The existing overflow parking lot in the north-western corner of North Park is planned to be expanded with 130 additional parking spaces.

Just south of the lot will be a community garden consisting of 14 raised beds.

The forested area separating the parking lot and future sports fields will house two off-leash and fenced-in dog parks – one meant for larger dogs and another for smaller dogs.

A multi-purpose field will be installed in the north-eastern area of North Park with an overlapping little league baseball field. The field is planned to use synthetic turf.

There will be another little league baseball field to the south with natural grass, with a parking lot built just below it.

Encompassing North Park will be a loop trail that cuts through forest as well as take advantage of sidewalks. Several bridges will be installed allow people using the trail to cross the natural wetlands in the area.

Included in the North Park plan is the evolution of a Community Campus, which could potentially include the Bonney Lake Historical Museum, a future location for the Bonney Lake Food Bank and the Senior Center.

Central Park

The field used for Bonney Lake Days and Tunes @ Tapps is planned to be turned into the largest multi-purpose field in the park, with two overlapping Little League fields. This field is expected to use synthetic turf.

A children’s play area is planned to be built to the east of this field right where the park’s stage currently sits.

According to the master plan, the stage will likely be moved to the future Midtown Park, where the WSU forest currently stands.

The playground already at the park is planned to be upgraded with more modern play equipment and possibly a net to catch wayward sports balls.

South Park

One of the biggest changes coming to the park is the addition of a BMX area in South Park, which is planned to be built just south of the park’s tennis courts. Included in this area will be restrooms, bleachers and 43 parking stalls.

Looping through South Park and into Central Park will be a mountain bike trail, and there will be a South Loop Trail encompassing this.

A maintenance building and yard is planned to be built south of the gazebo.

Boat trailer parking will also be moved to South Park from the East Park area and will have 22 trailer parking spaces in the summer.

East Park

Another synthetic multi-purpose field will be installed in East Park where the boat trailer parking lot currently lies.

Just north of this field will be a plaza with restrooms and a children’s play area, and north of that a parking lot with 97 spaces.

Surrounding the field will be the East Loop Trail.

Phasing and funding

The master plan has outlined a phasing plan for which of these park improvements should be tackled first and last, but the phasing plan isn’t set in stone, Lingard said.

Each phase is split by two lists: one of priority improvements the city will focus on, and another of secondary improvements that the city consider when funds become available.

The estimated costs of these phases do not include the demolition of any current structures.

Phase 1 would include all of South Park as well as the dog parks and natural-grass little league field in North Park. Priority projects would cost just over $1.76 million, and the secondary improvements raise the cost to $3.48 million.

Phase 2 would finish off East Park. Primary improvements would cost more than $2.85 million, and adding the secondary improvements would bring that number up to $5.54 million.

Phase 3 completes the rest of North Park with a price tag of $1.83 for the primary projects and $3.53 million with the secondary projects.

Central Park is expected to be upgraded last, since it’s the portion of the park most utilized by Bonney Lake residents, Dees explained. Primary improvements start at $1.76 million and jump to $3.77 with the secondary improvements.

Starting this project right away is crucial to keeping costs low, Dees and Lingard told the council. Based on their estimation using the current rate of inflation, the total cost of the project could rise to more than $19.5 million in 10 years and more than $23 million in 20.

The mayor said that at the rate cities like Bonney Lake are growing, he would like to see wheels turning on Phase 1 within the next five or so weeks.

“We’re either going to keep up or fall behind,” he said.

Johnson said the city is still figuring out budgeting. There is money in the Capital Budget from park impact fees that can help implement Phase 1, Johnson wrote in an email, although maintenance will still have to come out of the general fund.

The city may have to consider a bond measure for future phases, Johnson said during the meeting.

At the moment, there is no concrete time frame for how long phases will take to complete.

The council plans to continue discussing the Allan Yorke Master Plan during the next council workshop on Aug. 16, since the regularly scheduled Aug. 2 workshop was cancelled for National Night Out.

The master plan will be available for review at a booth at Bonney Lake Days, Aug. 19 and 20.

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