Parks, roads improvements on the city’s 2013 docket

In the upcoming year, the City of Redmond will continue its work toward developing the downtown into a vibrant urban center.

One thing residents can look forward to is a bigger Downtown Park.

In order to expand the park, located at 16101 Redmond Way, a number of buildings along Redmond Way and Cleveland Street between Brown Street and Leary Way Northeast will be torn down. The park begins at 161st Avenue Northeast and will extend east, stopping at The Stone House at 16244 Cleveland St.

Redmond Mayor John Marchione said all of the property that will be torn down was purchased by the city between 2011 and 2012.

“It’s great to have the space secured,” he said, adding that the buildings will be coming down in the next four months or so.

Marchione said the city has worked out deals with the businesses being displaced and most will be moving to new locations.

Once the space is cleared, the mayor said the city will expand the park’s grass field and they will look at temporary shading options for the area as they begin preliminary design work. Marchione said there will be an outreach process as well during this time to bring in the community and get their feedback and ideas for the park.

Jeri Rowe-Curtis, chief policy adviser and communications and marketing administrator for the city, said  the city will be holding more events during this time, as well, just as they did this past summer with the five-week “Sundays in the Park” series.

In addition to work on Downtown Park, Cleveland Street will also see some improvements.

Marchione said they will be widening the sidewalks to make the street more walkable. Other work on the street will include turning it into a three-lane road with street parking. The mayor said all of this is to prepare Cleveland Street to be converted into a two-way street, which won’t happen until about 2016.

There will be continued work on the Redmond Central Connector (RCC), as well.

Marchione said the trail is currently a gravel path and the plan is to pave the downtown portion and install some amenities such as benches and entryways off and on to the trail. The city also plans to install a parking lot to encourage people to use the trail, as well as spend time downtown. Marchione said a lot of the work being done on the RCC will be from about 170th Avenue Northeast to the bridge over Redmond Way.

The city will also be working to secure funding to extend the RCC to Northeast 124th Street. Marchione said they are looking at a combination of budget savings and state grants.

Other work throughout Redmond will include a study of 166th Avenue Northeast from Northeast 85th Street to Northeast 100th Street — better known as Education Hill. The mayor said they will be looking to see if that stretch of road would work better as a three-lane road rather than its current four-lane configuration.

“We’re trying to make it safer for pedestrians,” he said.

He said the city will also encourage public input on this to see what people think. This has been something the city has discussed for about eight years and Marchione said City Council is scheduled to make a decision at the end of the year whether or not to do work on the hill.

Redmond officials will also be doing some work regarding the city’s natural resources this year, including rerouting Bear Creek in order to improve the local fish habitat, planting trees around Dudley Carter Park and restoration work around Tosh, Idylwood and Evans creeks.

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