Northwest NEWS

May 3, 1999

Front Page

Grand staircase

New steps mark beginning of McCormick Park improvements


Members of the Public Works crew who built the stairs are (from left) Kevin Morningstar, Heather Hinman, John Butler, and Jerry Marlette.
Staff photo by Lisa Allen.

by Valley View staff

   DUVALL--Those heading for the Duvall beach this summer will find the trip down the hill to be a lot safer, thanks to a new set of stairs recently constructed by the city Public Works Department.

   City staff held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week to mark the completion of the stairs, which are the first of many improvements planned for William McCormick Park. This strip of property with incredible natural features was obtained by the city for a park that features access to both Snoqualmie River waterfront and the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.

   The city received a grant from Washington State Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC) for Phase I development of the park, which includes construction of a pedestrian trail, picnic facilities, and emergency vehicle access.

   The stairs lead from the Snoqualmie Trail down to the beach, and are the first part of the trail system that will make a loop through six acres of the 20-acre site. Landscape architects have laid out a plan for locating picnic tables and park benches at strategic points along the loop.

   There will also be bike racks for the convenience of riders who come to the park via the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. Most of the park area will remain in a natural setting and will provide a nearby, accessible, outdoor facility for the enjoyment of the Duvall community.

   The park has 900 feet of waterfront and features access to the sandy beach which has historically been used as the local swimming hole. The beach area of William McCormick Park provides the setting and sand for the sand sculpture activities of the annual Sandblast Arts Festival sponsored by the Duvall Arts Commission. The 1999 Festival will be the weekend of July 30, 31, and August 1.

   This year's Sandblast theme, "The Living River," was selected to raise awareness of the river as a living entity--to show respect for the plants and animals associated with the river and to honor the religious and historical significance of the river and its creatures.

   The sand sculpture will feature the life cycle of the salmon that spawn and return to the Snoqualmie River. Other parts of the sculpture, while including flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest region, will be particularly true to those of the Snoqualmie River and its Valley. Ralph Bennett, Native American sculptor, will serve as artistic coach.

   The Duvall Arts Commission has received a grant from the KC Community Arts Initiative to support and expand the Sandblast '99 Arts Festival. Festival organizers plan to set up an outdoor stage on a knoll above the riverbank overlooking the sandbar, sited in such a way that both the general audience and those working on the sand sculpture can hear the music and enjoy the performances. The Arts Commission has proposed a variety of music--including a swing band and highland pipers. An Art Walk winding through the park will feature local professional and amateur (especially young) artists.

   There are many tasks remaining, and the city would be grateful for volunteers to help. Please call City Hall at 788-1185 and leave your name. For more information on Riverfront Park, please contact Elizabeth Goode, Public Works Director and City Engineer at 788-5959, or Eric Jensen, Planning Director at 788-2779.