The city of Kent will receive an $800,000 grant from King County to help develop the new East Hill North Community Park.
The King County Council on Tuesday, Sept. 5 approved the Parks Capital and Open Space Grant, according to a news release from King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, whose District 5 includes parts of Kent.
The 33-acre park will be created in the Panther Lake area near 132nd Avenue SE and SE 216th Street. The state Legislature approved $1 million for the park during the 2023 session. City leaders requested $2 million from the state for the project.
“It’s a rare and exciting opportunity to build a new community park from scratch.” Upthegrove said. “I’m thrilled that King County was able to partner with the city of Kent on this project and I can’t wait for the neighborhood to experience these facilities.”
Open space, restrooms, shelters and a community gathering area will be part of the park to expand and improve recreation opportunities for underserved areas of Kent and surrounding communities.
The Parks Capital and Open Space Grants are competitive grant programs are part of the voter-approved 2020-2025 Parks Levy and seeks to assist eligible entities with open space acquisition, active recreation, passive recreation and local trails. In August 2019, King County residents overwhelmingly supported the ballot a proposition authorizing a six-year property tax levy estimated to raise $810 million to support parks and open space throughout the county.
The site offers beautiful views of Mount Rainier plus it provides a critical connection to the Soos Creek Regional Trail. Phase 1 of this project includes parking, utilities, restroom, shelter, children’s play area with nature-based play, nature trails, and ecological restoration consisting of native meadows, forests and wetlands, according to city parks staff.
The city purchased the former Huse property in 2010 for $1.55 million, according to King County property records. The purchase was made shortly after voters approved the annexation of the Panther Lake area to Kent.
Habitat restoration grant
The County Council also approved an Open Space – River Corridors Grant of $200,000 to the city of Kent for habitat restoration at Boeing Rock Park.
City staff will conduct a feasibility study, planning, and outreach for Boeing Rock Park to restore salmon habitat, reduce flood risk and enhance recreation. The park is about 6.8 acres and only accessible via the Green River Trail