Letters to the Editor

Overlake Village Park discussion is set for this Wednesday | Letter

Did you know that the Overlake Village Park being discussed at 6 p.m. this Wednesday at Redmond City Hall is only the first of three parks to be developed in Overlake over the next 20 years?  More than nine acres of parkland will eventually be built to provide the level of service needed as that neighborhood grows. How these three community resources complement each other to create a “place” in Overlake should be considered as the first park is planned for Overlake Village.

Did you know that South Lake Union — that new Seattle community emerging amid a lot of buzz — might be considered a template of all the Overlake could be on a somewhat smaller scale?  To help shape the growth of South Lake Union, a significant partnership has been created between city planners, developers and the “Friends and Neighbors of South Lake Union” — a proactive, multi-stakeholder community council that has recognized the value of collaborative efforts around urban form, housing, transportation and economic development.  Redmond (and our Bel-Red neighbors) might benefit from South Lake Union’s example as we build a new community in Overlake.

When we think about Overlake Village, a vision of the broader neighborhood is helpful. A park does not exist in isolation. Although a key catalyst of the neighborhood, that park and activities there are only one element in building a sense of place. As downtown Redmond has shown us, it takes multiple focal points to make a community desirable and livable. In the years ahead, there will be opportunities to add character to Overlake, largely along the 152nd Avenue corridor that will lead to the new EastLink station passing a large park and plaza on the west. But it takes a community to make such a place livable by adding a human dimension to the built environment under development….a brew pub, bookstore or neighborhood-centered coffee house, for example.

Now is the time to get in on the ground floor, think about Overlake as our “other downtown" and set a framework for what we'd like to see painted on the canvas that the city, Overlake Village developers and those that follow will be providing. If you want to be part of that “Friends and Neighbors” process, plan to attend the next Overlake Village Park Open House this Wednesday. Or you can indicate your interest by contacting imagineoverlake@gmail.com.

Tom Hinman

Imagine Overlake

 

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