West Fenwick Park will get a new field, playground and picnic shelter as part of a $3.16 million renovation project by the city of Kent.
The park will close July 1 for the rest of the year for the major renovation.
City staff plans several other park improvements or designs in 2020-2021 for Kent Memorial Park, Kherson Park, Springwood Park, Salt Air Vista Park and the Riverbend Driving Range.
The City Council approved a $3.16 million bid by Terra Dynamics, Inc., of Algona, on June 16 to renovate West Fenwick Park, 3808 S. Reith Road. Three other bids ranged from $3.19 million to $3.81 million.
“We are really excited about this project,” said Terry Jungman, parks planning and development manager, at a June 16 council workshop. “This kind of represents the first of many projects to come as it relates to doing more holistic park renovation projects.”
A new natural turf field (about the size of a football field) with better drainage will replace the current field for open recreation at West Fenwick. Just to the west of that field, a new artificial turf field will be installed for smaller-scale soccer games and other uses.
Crews will replace the playground with a Chutes and Ladders-themed program, based on the Chutes and Ladders board game.
“It’s an idea we’ve been working with playground manufacturers and our design team on,” Jungman said. “This is a playground that will be appearing in catalogs. People will be looking at this as an innovative idea for future playgrounds. It is going to be unique to Kent and I think other cities will be looking at us and saying ‘wow, that is something that is really impressive.’”
Jungman said the design team tested the playground, and it does work to play the game using the facilities and structures that crews will install.
The city is paying for the West Fenwick project and other park renovations through its capital budget, funded mainly by the city’s business and occupation tax and the real estate excise tax (on sales of real estate). With about $3 million a year from B&O tax revenue in 2019 and 2020 going to parks capital projects, the city has been able to fund some larger projects of $50,000 or more. The funds are also used for $630,000 a year in staff and operating costs and about $500,000 a year in annual parks maintenance, according to city documents.
With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the B&O tax revenue is expected to drop about 30 percent this year. Because of less revenue, city staff has delayed projects at Earthworks Park, Lake Fenwick Park, Clark Lake Park and Riverview Park.
Projects coming up
• Kent Memorial Park
A complete park renovation including conversion of Art Wright Field (baseball) to synthetic turf, lighting upgrades, optimized parking and access, restroom replacement and general landscape enhancements.
City staff will soon kick off a public engagement phase with a online survey and virtual presentations to stakeholder groups. The park is at 850 Central Ave. N.
The conversion of the baseball field to synthetic turf reduces maintenance and will allow the field to be used for more months and bring in more revenue to the city, Jungman said. The new turf also will allow for multi-purpose use similar to Hogan Park fields.
City staff is considering eliminating two softball fields and replace them with an open play lawn, but will seek public comment to help decide if that is the right move to make.
Planning and design is set for this summer with construction in 2021.
• Riverbend Driving Range
Work continues on the driving range improvements with a new natural grass turf installed with irrigation to replace the artificial turf. New fencing and poles are up. The driving range, 2020 W. Meeker St., will be expanded with 14 new stalls. That work is expected to be done in the fall.
Crews are working on a new driving range parking lot, a Russell Road bike/pedestrian connection to the Green River Trail and lighting, sidewalk and landscaping improvements along West Meeker Street next to Riverbend. The City Council awarded a $2.3 million bid to Pacific-based ICON Materials on Feb. 4 for the Meet Me on Meeker Sidewalk and Riverbend Driving Range improvements.
The city received a $250,000 grant from the state Transportation Improvement Board to help pay for the project. The rest of the funds will come from the city’s B&O tax as well as some of the proceeds from the city’s $10.5 million sale of the Riverbend par 3 golf course to the developer of the Ethos Apartments along West Meeker Street and across from the Riverbend 18-hole course.
A reopening date for the driving range remains to be determined.
• Kherson Park
A complete park renovation including installation of an interactive lunar rover replica and astronaut replica with a space-themed playground at the park, 307 W. Gowe St. The lawn and pathways will be redeveloped. Design is to be done this summer with the goal of going out to bid for construction in 2021, depending on the private fundraising campaign for the project.
• Springwood Park
City staff is working on a master plan and looking at ways to meet with the public to get ideas about what direction to take with the park, 12700 SE 274th St. Planning is set for this summer and fall and design in 2021.
• Salt Air Vista Park
A new playground and improvements to drainage and stormwater system at the West Hill park, 24615 26th Place S. City staff is planning public outreach. Design is set for this summer and construction in summer 2021.