Northwest NEWS

December 11, 2000

Local News

What Woodinville residents want in recreation programs

by Bronwyn Wilson
   Senior Staff Reporter
   Community dances or sculpting classes? Latch key programs at local schools or more concerts in the park? What do Woodinville citizens really want in the way of recreation services?
   Last summer, the City of Woodinville asked citizens about their recreation interests and public attitudes in a community survey. The responses are being used to assist the City in planning recreation programs and in designing future recreation facilities.
   Some key questions in the survey asked about the Sorenson school site, a 10-acre site on NE 175th Street that includes the old schoolhouse and the Sorenson ball fields.
   "The strongest message in this survey is that recreation is very important to the quality of life here in Woodinville, and the City is expected to play a major role in providing these services," said Parks and Recreation Director Lane Youngblood.
   Woodinville City Council is currently reviewing a draft of a Five-year Recreation Plan presented by the Woodinville Parks and Recreation Commission based on the survey results.
   In addition to the statistical survey, the City also collected comments through the City Chronicle, the City's Web page and the Woodinville Weekly.
   In an effort to seek input from the business community, members of the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce were polled.
   "Recreation opportunities are part of the package that makes a community livable, whether you are a resident, business owner, employee, or visitor," said Liz Aspen, Chair of the Woodinville Parks and Recreation Commission.
   According to Aspen, the survey provides a 95 percent confidence level in describing community needs.
   Conducted by J.C. Draggoo and Associates, the survey was distributed by volunteers to randomly selected addresses within city limits. Survey respondents ranged in age from 10 years to seniors over 65.
   "The results show that the community is asking for a variety of programs, with an emphasis on programs for youth and teens," said Recreation Supervisor Cindy Shelton.
   "Teen programs" received the most favorable responses with 20.4 percent respondents ranking it as their first choice. Other responses receiving strong support were "Outdoor Adventure Activities" receiving 17.4 percent, "Cultural Events" receiving 14.7 percent and "Children's Programs" (ages 3-10) receiving 14.3 percent. Only 1.4 percent thought the City should not expand its current recreation program.
   Young people, ages 10 to 17, rated "Outdoor Adventure Activities" as their first choice for additional recreation programs. "Senior programs" ranked highest with respondents over the age of 55.
   When asked about cultural events, survey respondents indicated a preference for continuing City special events provided by Parks and Recreation, such as the DeYoung concert series.
   Also, 33.2 percent of survey respondents asked for performances and musical events. Another 31.8 percent had a preference for concerts in the park and 14.4 percent want classes in visual arts, such as painting and photography.
   Woodinville Parks and Recreation already provides a variety of programs and special events at locations throughout the city. Over 1,500 participants were enrolled in classes, camps or activities in 2000.
   The City collaborates with Northshore Senior Center to develop programs and classes for seniors in the Woodinville area.
   Nature or art classes have met in various churches, Sammamish Grange Hall, the Gold Creek Lodge and King County facilities. The Department also offers after-school programs.
   One example is the "Arts in Training" program which meets after school one day a week at Wellington Elementary. Another example is the Youth Art Show scheduled for March 31 in conjunction with "Celebrate Woodinville."
   Parks Director Youngblood indicates that a future community center on the Sorenson site would substantially increase the capacity of the city to meet survey needs. The property already contains a pool, gym, and fields.
   "Community meeting space, classroom space, and fitness and recreation areas are what we heard the public asking for in addition to these existing recreation facilities," said Youngblood.
   The City Council is evaluating the existing buildings on the Sorenson site to see what recreation needs are appropriate to locate there.
   "Buildings from the 70s have a shelf life when you consider current energy codes, building codes, and requirements for accessibility.
   "We're looking into whether they are cost effective to operate or will really function well for the multi-faceted community recreation and civic purposes the public wants," said Youngblood.
   The firm of Carlson Architects has been hired to work with the Council to evaluate the existing site, including preservation and potential uses of the old school building.
   "This is a very exciting time in the life of the City," said Commissioner Aspen. "We have clearly stated public needs and a wonderful 10-acre site where we can begin to meet some of those needs we identified in the survey.
   "We already have a dynamic recreation program, and the survey will help us fine-tune our programs and facilities.
   "We are on the way to implementing some of the things that really make this a great community."
   Survey results can be obtained at Woodinville City Hall or by contacting the City of Woodinville Recreation Supervisor, Cindy Shelton at (425) 489-2700.