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What will become of Woodinville’s golf course?

  • Written by Don Mann
About 100 concerned citizens filled the Brightwater Education and Community Center on Tuesday night for the second open house concerning the future Wellington Hills Regional Sports Park, which will be built on about 100 acres about a mile south of the massive wastewater treatment system on Route 9 in Woodinville.

The park will be built, like it or not, across Wellington Hills Golf and Country Club, soon to be defunct.

Snohomish County Parks and Recreation Director Tom Teigen welcomed the crowd, many of whom attended the first open house at the same location three weeks earlier.

“A number of the neighbors have expressed concerns — very typical with park development — about things like traffic or noise or lighting or ingress and egress,” he said. “It’s very important for us to hear from you and for you to have a voice. We understand that you have concerns, but we’re here to build an amazing park, something that you’ll want to use every day and be able to enjoy and spend time with your dog, your grandkids, your friends and family.”

Snohomish County purchased the property near Maltby from the University of Washington for $9.7 million to be used exclusively for a sports park.

The property, purchased with Brightwater mitigation funds in 2011, is large enough to accommodate several sports facilities and recreation opportunities.

King and Snohomish counties — the 100 acres spans both jurisdictions — agreed to the mitigation package in 2005 prior to the construction of Brightwater.

Exactly what the sports facilities and recreation opportunities will be is still being determined and, along with citizens’ concerns, was the topic of discussion at the open house.

Teigen, after his opening statement, handed the mic to Bruce Dees of Bruce Dees & Associates, the 32-year-old Tacoma-based, award-winning landscape architecture firm whose resume includes, most recently, the Marymoor Soccer Fields and Valley Ridge Park in SeaTac.

Dees spoke about the “project program” and where it stood now, based on input from citizen surveys and public comment.

Pointing to a chart, he broke down the public’s preferences based on high, medium and low priority.

Seventeen categories were listed, 14 of them “high:” eight synthetic fields with lights to serve soccer, lacrosse and football, including one “signature” field; two baseball/ softball fields with Little League dimensions; a paved 10- to 12-foot trail surrounding the facility; a 50,000 square foot indoor sports facility; an indoor/outdoor mountain bike facility; an off-leash space for dogs; educational features; informal open space including a grass meadow; a greenbelt; a picnic shelter with tables and BBQ; a basketball hoop or two — but not a full court; a playground area with swings; adequate parking to minimize impact on neighbors; and a maintenance facility to house equipment.

Those public preferences, apparently, will be boiled down by an “ad hoc” committee of advisors which includes, Teigen said, Woodinville City Manager Rich Leahy.

Some things, obviously, have got to give to make it happen. Dees said in deciding design criteria, safety is the overriding factor.

Among the opposing opinions, he said, are local traffic issues, environmental preservation (including impact on wildlife, trees and wetlands), safety and security for neighbors, lighting and stormwater issues.

Teigen mentioned to this reporter that lighting technology is now much less invasive than it was.

Other concerns include garbage and littering, maintaining current vistas for local residents and the resultant parking issues –the spill-off that may be brought to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Dees projected 100-foot surrounding buffer zones for the locals. But that may not be enough for satisfaction.

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