Aerial view of renovations at Van Doren’s Landing Park. (Screenshot from City of Kent Youtube page)

Aerial view of renovations at Van Doren’s Landing Park. (Screenshot from City of Kent Youtube page)

Kent’s parks undergo renovations and reimagination

Mayor Dana Ralph outlines recent and future projects.

During her State of the City speech on March 14, Kent Mayor Dana Ralph highlighted several of the city’s recent and future parks projects.

Ralph said the city’s parks and recreation staff do their best to incorporate community feedback into the designs and plans for park renovations as well as brand new parks.

She said Titus Railroad Park at 238 1st Avenue recently received renovations and upgrades with new landscaping, bike racks, and seating.

“It has created a perfect spot, right down there in the middle of downtown, to enjoy a bite to eat from one of our amazing restaurants,” Ralph said of what Titus Railroad Park has become.

She said the city also completed renovations at Chestnut Ridge Park on the north end of East Hill. She said the park now has new play equipment for kids, an “improved” pavilion with barbecue pits, a functional art sculpture, one quarter-of-a-mile walking loop, and open lawns in addition to a wooded area.

Ralph said the city is also wrapping up work on the West Hill area’s Salt Air Vista Park, so that residents in that area can “feel the love,” so to speak. She said the park now has new playground equipment including swings as well as an improved natural play area.

When receiving community feedback on how parks could improve, Ralph said natural play areas with logs and vegetation that allow children to engage with nature were among the most requested amenities.

“We heard you, and we are implementing that work into our parks,” she said of the requests for natural play areas.

Later this year, the city plans to reopen the park known as Van Doren’s Landing, adjacent to the Green River. The park was in the process of being moved away from the river with flooding prevention measures built as well.

“It provided a great opportunity to reimagine and invest in a new park,” Ralph said of the project. “So while we are creating fish habitat and protecting the valley down there, we are also getting a pretty, new, amazing space.”

Ralph said the park will feature a Mount Rainier inspired play structure, improved picnic space and better access to the Green River Trail.

With roughly $2 million from King County’s Conservation Futures Fund, the city was able to purchase the final parcel necessary to own the Clark Lake Park area, an area Ralph said the city has been trying to develop into a park and wildlife area for decades.

Ralph said the park will be like Kent’s very own “Grand Central Park” in the middle of the community.

With the land now forever preserved as a natural area and open park, Ralph said the city plans to build trails around the lake in the middle of the park, so that people can actually see it and enjoy the scene.

Ralph said many people in Kent were not even aware that there was a lake in the Clark Lake area because it has not been accessible.

She said the city will look to gather community input on the best investments in the Clark Lake Park for future use.

Ralph also announced that the city is planning future park renovations to Morrill Meadows Park, Campus Park, Commons Neighborhood Park, Hogan Park and others, as well as an entirely new park at 216th and 132nd called the East Hill North Community Park.

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New landscaping at Chestnut Ridge Park. (Screenshot from City of Kent Youtube page)

New landscaping at Chestnut Ridge Park. (Screenshot from City of Kent Youtube page)

Kids try out the new play structure at Chestnut Ridge Park. (Screenshot from City of Kent Youtube page)

Kids try out the new play structure at Chestnut Ridge Park. (Screenshot from City of Kent Youtube page)

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