August 16, 1999
Preston community celebrates as Vision becomes reality
King County Executive Ron Sims joined with the residents of Preston last week to celebrate several dreamed-of projects that together comprise the Preston Vision that, when complete, will create a regional gateway to the Snoqualmie Valley.
Fearing the impacts of encroaching growth, the citizens of this small rural timber town banded together to develop a plan for their future. They created a partnership with King County to articulate a future vision that emphasizes the critical role this city plays in linking the past, present and future of King County.
"Preston is in a unique location," said Sims. "It sits at the gateway to the Snoqualmie Valley and on the edge of urban/suburban growth. The community realized growth posed a threat to the character of the community and its rural lifestyle. Together, we mapped out a vision to retain the historical, natural, and cultural resources to benefit not only people who lived there, but all of us in King County."
The "vision" is to protect the natural beauty of the area while enhancing it with new educational and interpretive facilities, keeping Preston the livable, small-scale community it is, added Doug McClelland, Preston Community Club president.
Sims said nearly $6 million has been invested over the last three years to make the Preston Vision a reality.
Included in the Preston Vision are projects that tie together five physically distinct areas in and around Preston that, when complete, will ensure active recreation, cultural heritage, education, and permanent open spaces. The projects are:
Planning will begin with a meeting on September 13 at 7 p.m. at the Preston Community Center.
- Preston Mill Park--An integrated sytem of educational and recreational opportunities is proposed, combining the 22-acre site's unrivaled access to the Raging River with its noteworthy past as a timber mill. This historic site, which is the birthplace of Preston, was purchased for $1.3 million. It had been slated to become a rock-crushing plant when, with the help of the Trust for Public Lands, King County acquired it.
- Preston Arboretum and Botanical Gardens--An indoor and outdoor learning center was acquired for $1.7 million for 22 acres, which will include 20 interconnecting forest rooms and 3,000 species of trees, shrubs, herbs, and fungi.
- Mitchell Hill Connector/Transfer of Development Credits (TDC)--It is a critical link in a 475-acres unprotected forest corridor linking 1,700 acres of King County Parks System land on Grand Ridge and Duthie Hill to over 1,000 acres of state DNR forest lands on Mitchell Hill.
- Preston-Snoqualmie Trail--A 6.3 mile trail linking the two areas.
- Preston Ballfield Park--A 15-acre $2.1 million recreational/play area including a children's play area, a picnic/family area and ballfields.
- Preston Vision 2000--A master planning process that will focus on four key elements of the vision: the Preston Community Center; the mill; ballfield park; and the trail.