Although it will be a month before city officials consider specific proposals to improve DeYoung Park, the possible renovations generated some pointed debate when the City Council members took a preliminary look at the project Feb. 7.
Clayton Beaudoin, a principal at SiteWorkshop in Seattle, outlined for council members the costs of three proposals to improve the park: What is termed a renovation budget totaling $200,000; a modification budget costing $500,000; and a transformation budget of $800,000.
Those prospective costs drew some skepticism from Mayor Bernie Talmas.
“I can’t imagine spending $800,000” on DeYoung, “or even $500,000,” Talmas told Beaudoin, whose landscape architecture firm was hired by the city to make recommendations on a possible redesign of the park.
Deputy Mayor James Evans questioned how the city arrived at the conclusion that DeYoung Park was most in need of major renovations, instead of other parks in the city.
Before endorsing any of the renovation proposals, Evans said city officials should consider “the question of whether you had $200,000 to spend, what would you do with it.”
Evans also asked how the $200,000, $500,000 and $800,000 spending levels were set, as opposed to much lower or higher budgets, $25,000 or $1 million.
In response, Beaudoin told the council, “there are $25,000 options, but they would not accomplish want the public wants” at the park.
In a presentation to the Parks and Recreation Commission last month, Beaudoin said the park would benefit from some combination of playful art, better lighting, event space and a water feature, such as a fountain, small stream or “splash pad” for children, according to a landscape architect hired by the city to propose upgrades to the park.
The redesign proposals came after a series of opinion-gathering efforts by SiteWorkshop, including interviews with users in the park, a workshop, an online survey and discussions with owners of businesses near the park.
Evans said public sentiment is not clear, because opinions gathered so far on possible park improvements do not necessarily reflect an accurate cross-section of Woodinville.
But efforts to redesign the park, which opened in 1998 and occupies about two-thirds of an acre donated to the city as part of the development of the TRF Pacific shopping center, had its supporters, including Parks and Recreation Commission members and Councilmember Elaine Cook.
Parks commission Chair Sandra White told council members that the park’s central-city location helped make it a good candidate for renovations , and that council members were comfortable with the three prospective price tags included in the SiteWorkshop presentation.
Commission member Julie Elsom praised SiteWorkshop’s efforts at determining a range of prices, rather than one cost estimate.
“Although (providing three cost estimates) is unconventional, it allows flexibility” in deciding what improvements in the park are most necessary and cost-effective.
Overall, Elmson, said, a DeYoung project “will benefit both the users of the park” and the businesses that operate near it.
Cook, the council’s liaison to the parks commission, reminded council members that they were early in the process, and would be getting more specific information about redesign proposals.
SiteWorkshop is putting together specific plans that could be accomplished at each of the three price points, which are expected to be presented to the council March 21.