Land transfer will lead to new park

Two city councils came together Tuesday night around a vision for a park — and a box of chocolates.

Two city councils came together Tuesday night around a vision for a park — and a box of chocolates.

The Redmond City Council hosted the Sammamish City Council in a joint meeting to discuss the transfer of five parcels of land that will be used to create the Sammamish Landing park along the waterfront at the very northern end of Sammamish.

“I think this is a win for both our communities,” Redmond Mayor John Marchione said. “Making this park become a reality over the next 10 years is a priority, I think, for both our cities.”

Redmond officials bought the properties in the 1990s with grant money, Marchione said.

“Instead of letting these properties sit idle, we’re happy to work with the city of Sammamish in transferring ownership of these properties for a park,” he said.

Sammamish Mayor Lee Fellinge said he thinks it’s imperative that cities work cooperatively on matters of common interest like this one.

“You can get very little done by yourself,” Fellinge said. “I think Redmond was very visionary in the acquisition of these waterfront parcels.”

Sammamish council members brought the Redmond Council a box of chocolates — not purchased with city funds, they were careful to point out — as a “token of thanks” for the gift of land.

Both councils approved the agreement last week, but city representatives from Redmond signed the documents Tuesday, making it official.

The agreement calls for Sammamish to develop the park within 10 years. The entire park area will include the 2.36 acres from Redmond as well as land owned by Sammamish and King County. If Sammamish should fail to create the park within the 10-year limit, the land would revert to the city of Redmond.

Parks Department and contract workers are currently creating a master plan for Sammamish Landing, which is expected to be complete in 2009. The proposed bond and levy that Sammamish voters will have the chance to approve or deny this fall includes about $3 million for the first phase of the park. Ideas proposed for the park so far have included canoe and kayak pullouts, picnic areas and docks, along with habitat restoration and limited parking. The park land wraps around several private parcels, and will be easily accessible from the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

“I think it will be a fantastic addition to both communities,” Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici said.

Redmond Council members expressed excitement about the project as well.

“We’re just so thrilled that this is finally coming together,” said Redmond Council President Nancy McCormick, noting that the land transfer was one of the council’s top priorities coming out of their retreat earlier this year. “I can hardly wait to see what your master plan will look like.”

The two councils also discussed transportation issues including:

• Improvements to 202, including the flyover ramp. Fellinge applauded that project.

“We’ve heard comments that the plug that we had there has largely gone away. It’s just been a huge relief.”

Marchione agreed, saying it has benefitted both communities.

• Changing some major four-lane roadways to three lanes (two lanes and a center turn lane). Sammamish officials asked for Redmond’s advice.

“I would characterize Redmond’s movement from four to three lanes as a very cautious approach,” Marchione said.

The Redmond Council expressed split opinion, but overall said that the approach has worked well in certain situations.

• The potential for a park and ride in northern Sammamish or east Redmond that would better serve riders and remove more vehicles from congested roadways at commute times.

• Regional transportation, including Sound Transit, tolling on Highway 520 and Interstate 90.