Spiritbrook community celebrates park reopening, despite rainy weather
By SAMANTHA PAK
Redmond Reporter Reporter
June 27, 2012 · 5:37 PM
Tuesday afternoon's showers were not enough to stop local residents from enjoying the newly reopened Spiritbrook Neighborhood Park.
City of Redmond Mayor John Marchione, city officials and dozens of members from the Spiritbrook community gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the park's reopening after being closed for seven months for renovations.
The project was a joint effort between the Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments as the remodeling addressed the area's drainage and storm water system in addition to updating the park itself. The total cost of the project was $2 million.
One of the main reasons for the remodel was the park's longstanding drainage problem. Project manager Dennis Brunelle said the peat soil naturally found in the area was good at absorbing water, but would not drain it.
"It wouldn't have gone anywhere," he said about water found on the park's field after a storm.
Marchione grew up in the area and could attest to this.
The mayor told the increasingly damp crowd he used to play football on the field as a kid and would often lose his shoe while running around, without realizing it. The field would be that wet.
In addition to upgrading the park's storm water system, Brunelle said they installed a multilayer draining system beneath the field, which is smaller than before and has been raised about two feet. The field also has a surface irrigation system that allows them to control moisture on contact, he said.
The field has been in operation for a good four months and the city has observed how it has handled storms. The new draining system is doing its job, but Brunelle said it still takes time, depending on how long a storm lasts and how saturated the ground is.
"It'll still get wet," he said about the field during a downpour.
The Spiritbrook Park field was opened to the public last Friday and its draining abilities were put to the test during Tuesday's reopening celebration.
After the mayor and project leaders said a few words about the park's reopening, most of the crowd dispersed to enjoy picnic snacks (below) and the new playground equipment but a few park goers braved — and survived — the wet conditions of the field, tossing frisbees provided by the city in honor of the event.
In addition to the new field, Spiritbrook Park now features a new and enlarged play structure, which became open to the public in March.
"I like it better than the old one," said Carson Moss about the new equipment.
The 8-year-old doesn't live in the immediate neighborhood, but has friends who live near the park and is a frequent visitor. He said his favorite piece of equipment is the climbing net and made good use of it during Tuesday's event.
Carson's friend Matthew Schauer, 9, said he enjoys the big blue swing. He said the swing, which resembles a car seat, looks like it was designed for smaller children, but it is big enough for older kids or even adults.
"It's just fun to swing on it," he said.
In addition to being kid-approved by Carson and Matthew, the playground has also been teen-approved by Evan Wilson. The 15-year-old lives within walking distance of Spiritbrook Park and admitted that even though he may be a bit old for the playground, he also enjoys the swings and the climbing net.
Wilson and his sister Sarah were the first to utilize the park on Tuesday before the ceremony — even playing a short gave of HORSE (above) with Marchione on the basketball court — so the mayor invited them to participate in the ribbon cutting that reopened their park (below).
Evan said he also likes that there is so much more to do at the park now.
"It's a lot different," he said.
The new features of the park include a small sand area, pickle ball court, loop trail and a small shelter for small gatherings.
The park also contains a small wetland, which is now marked with wood posts and rail fencing. Visitors can peek into the wetland with a short walk along the path.
Contact Redmond Reporter Reporter Samantha Pak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-867-0353, ext. 5052.