Northwest NEWS

August 13, 2001

Features

Phase Two of the city's Gateway Enhancement Project begins

By Bronwyn Wilson
   You see it just down the road after you turn off SR 522 at the Woodinville Exit and cruise toward 175th downtown. You pass Dairy Queen and McLendon's Hardware and before you reach the intersection at 177th, it's right there in front of you. You can't miss it. Secured by sandbags, black plastic stretches out on both sides of the railroad trestle.
   So, you may wonder, what's that all about?
   According to John Markuson, City Volunteer Coordinator, the black plastic is part of the continuation of the Gateway Enhancement Project, which the City Council initiated well over a year ago. Markuson explained that the black plastic is there to kill off weed systems.
   "The area is treated with an environmental friendly herbicide," he said, adding, "So there won't be any viable weeds beneath."
   After the weeds meet their timely demise, the next step follows. "We're intending to place a three-foot retaining wall made of keystone concrete blocks," said Markuson. After that, soil for planting will be trucked in.
   Many different kinds of drought-resistant plants, such as Oregon grape, cotoneaster, rugosa roses and a type of broom called Vancouver Gold, are scheduled to go in the soil.
   "Much research went into the drought-tolerant, sun-loving plants," said Markuson and explained, "The plants will afford color and interest."
   Janie Arens, Markuson's wife, compiled the list of selected plants for the city gateway. Arens has a background in botany and sits on the Board of Directors for the Evergreen Arboretum in Everett.
   "I tried to pick plants that are extremely hardy in hostile situations," she said, mentioning she chose a mix of plants that are aesthetically pleasing with seasonal interest.
   The landscaping component of the gateway currently under construction is Phase Two of the project.
   Phase One began in June 2000. It comprised painting of the trestle bridge and the placement of two murals on the trestle wing walls. A citizen transportation committee and the City Council selected two drawings designed by Northshore sixth-graders, which depicted the theme, "Keep Waterways Clean."
   The drawings were reproduced on vinyl material and expanded to the size of the wing walls. The bridge also received a cosmetic makeover.
   Repainted in a color theme to match Wilmot Park's steel structure, the bridge heralds white lettering which announces "Woodinville" to visitors.
   Thus far $3,000 in contributions from local businesses has been collected in support of the project.
   "There's been a great deal of support," said Markuson of local business owners. Mark Hoidal, owner of Splash & Dash Car Wash donated $500 to the project because he believes the gateway, when completed, will add a more pleasing atmosphere to Woodinville.
   "I feel it will enhance my corner. It looks so blah and ugly right now," he said. Rande Jaffe, owner of Sir Plus Army/Navy agreed that an attractive gateway will enhance the Woodinville landscape. "It's a great idea," said Jaffe. "We've volunteered to water our corner of it. We're the stewards of our little section once they plant it."
   Businesses near the gateway have agreed to water the plants on a pre-arranged schedule for the next 2-3 years until the new plants are established. Diane Fulton, owner of Pony Mailbox, wonders about the watering process and how it will be accomplished. "It's going to be an inconvenience for those who have to water it," she said, then added, "But, [when the plants are in] it will look better than the black plastic and will enhance the corner. I'm looking forward to it being completed."
   Planting is expected to take place by the end of the year, with the anticipation of the drought-tolerant plants bringing an attractive and colorful look to the downtown landscape by next spring.
   For further information on the Gateway Enhancement Project, contact John Markuson at (425) 489-2700, ext. 2230.