DeYoung Park’s big-budget makeover is moving forward following a motion by the city council to advance the next phase in overhauling its redesign during its August 1 session. Clayton Beaudoin, a principal at SiteWorkshop in Seattle, presented the latest updates to the park’s current design concepts. It is on budget currently. As Beaudoin explained, the cost of redesigning the nineteen-year-old green space ranged from a $200,000 renovation budget, a $500,000 modification budget, and an $800,000 transformation budget in February. The council opted for the cheapest option of renovating the park. “We wanted [DeYoung Park] to be distinctly Woodinville,” Beaudoin said. “We wanted it to be something that citizens could identify with and be proud of. We ended up with something that meets everything we set out to do in an interesting way.” The city’s current plan involves redeveloping the park’s south edge with communal amenities such as a porch swing, a play area, trails, and a central lawn within eyeshot of a 15-foot tall treehouse deck. Concepts for the treehouse’s design include a spiral staircase or ladder leading up to a deck overlooking the park with barstool tables and seating areas.
The treehouse’s $82,000 price tag drew concerns from Councilmember Al Taylor, who proposed that the council designate the treehouse as a separate item to avoid bloating the budget as a whole. Beaudoin prompted Taylor to withdrawal his proposal, explaining that the the treehouse’s design has not yet been finalized and therefore could not be removed from the budget. Beaudoin explained further that the project could still move forward as a whole by subtracting amenities like the treehouse from the park’s primary renovations should costs exceed expectations. “The way that this economy is, when we go to bid in five months, we would probably have bid alternatives or additives,” Beaudoin said. “We have a price for the core project and then we have a price for the treehouse and a certain price for the furniture. We can add something back in or find a funding source, but we don’t have to go back to the drawing board.”
The park’s renovations have yet to find any private funding sources or partnerships, which Beaudoin said would follow the completion of the park’s current redesigns. “There certainly are situations in which partnerships or some group provides funding, or can donate something that ends up in the park,” Beaudoin said. “We are talking big picture ideas and we have a long way to go to see how this treehouse looks and functions. We haven’t spent enough time working out the details.” Rather than concrete, the park’s trails will be made of crushed rock and soft wood fibers covering its play area. Mayor Bernard Talmas expressed concerns that the park’s crushed rock would restrict the amount of woodland area available to park goers in addition to its accessibility to wheelchairs. DeYoung Park’s arboreal renovations include removing most of the park’s existing trellises along with two damaged trees – an aging Douglas fir and a rotting white pine whose roots are overcrowding an Eastern chestnut.
While Councilmember Elaine Cook voiced support for the park’s lawn, Councilmember Susan Boundy-Santers questioned the public demand for more grass space. “They, for better or worse, expect [a lawn] in a park,” Beaudoin said. “It’s kind of an identity thing. They have a long history as a bit of a resource hog, but people love them.” A final version of the park’s design are expected later this year in addition to construction contracts.