Upgrading a Community Park With a Woodsy Feel
Westside Park Rejuvenation
A community park gets new life with upgrades tailor-made for its users.
Westside Park has a little something for everyone. Originally developed in the 1970s, this City of Redmond park, along with the adjacent Bridle Crest Trail system, serves the Overlook Neighborhood with ADA accessible trails, equestrian trails, sport courts, and more.
Though revisited in 2009 in a master planning effort by the City, Westside Park felt dated and underserved its community. The small site had many program priorities to meet community needs, and was further complicated by stream and buffer restrictions.
When Board & Vellum joined the team in 2019, the City of Redmond had already established its goals for updating the park, which included revising the 2009 Master Plan, improving drainage, updating a play area and sport court, introducing a picnic shelter, and maintaining or improving the park’s connection to the Bridle Crest Trail system.
An active and involved community dedicated to Westside Park’s success helped us home in on a program that was met with community approval while remaining sensitive to Parks Department needs and the site’s constraints. In collaboration with the City of Redmond Parks & Recreation Department, we held three public, open houses at a local school to get community feedback on the future of the park. Online surveys and the 2009 Master Plan also helped us align and update goals to meet the neighborhood’s current needs. Community feedback yielded consistent results: a desire for natural play features, more walking paths, and enhancement of the park’s already woodsy feel.
From the beginning, the City and community were aligned in the desire to protect and expand Westside Park’s natural areas. We worked closely with the park’s maintenance team to reduce the amount of impervious paving necessary for vehicle access to make more room for vegetated areas. The existing lawn was improved with an underdrain system so visitors can play year-round. Additional native plantings enhance the existing natural area exceeding buffer requirements and providing even more habitat.
Community members’ input played an important role in shaping our final vision for the park. The interest in sport courts led to details small (like two backboards on the basketball court) and large (like the strategic positioning of the pickleball court to maximize sun).
A wish to walk through the park’s paths during the rainy season without shoes soaking through and a lawn that stayed dry enough to play football on Thanksgiving helped guide our pathway and drainage strategies. A paved and gravel loop path was added to connect two segments of Bridle Crest Trail in a section wide enough for both horses and pedestrians. The gravel path not only offers softer footfalls for horses and runners alike but provides pervious groundcover to improve site drainage. A soft surface mulch trail was also added to connect the new loop path with an existing trailhead to a nearby ravine.
Passive drainage solutions were implemented across the park. To keep interventions minimal, we opted for vegetative flow paths (strategic areas planted with native species plants to receive runoff from the paths) and a bioswale rain garden. Both pull double duty, adding beauty and visual interest to the park while helping to manage the significant drainage issues on site.
The park’s woodsy feel was further highlighted with play features and a picnic shelter built from beautiful, locally sourced timber from the Pacific Northwest. A wooden, split-rail fence protects the park’s critical areas and adds to the park’s natural feel. Existing and healthy trees were maintained and supplemented with additional native trees, shrubs, and understory species. Plantings throughout the park were sourced specifically to enhance ethnobotanical and pollinator benefits, adding to the future health of the park and neighborhood.
Two years to the date from the first community meeting, Westside Park opened to the public.
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