Engstrom Open Space
|Margaret & Kenneth Quarles Honored for Contribution|
On February 5, 2007, City Council honored Margaret and Kenneth Quarles for their contribution of open space to the City’s park system. The 7 acres are adjacent to Pioneer Park and Council unanimously voted to name the property the Engstrom Open Space in honor of Margaret’s father.
To view a map of the open space, click here.
Following is the announcement made at the February 5 Council Meeting:
CITIZENS OF THE YEAR
Ken and Margaret Quarles
Council wishes to recognize and honor longtime Mercer Island residents, Margaret and Kenneth Quarles for their generous and selfless contribution to the City’s park and open space system this year. The Quarles’ were the owners of pristine open space located west of East Mercer Way and adjacent to Pioneer Park. In 2006, the Quarles agreed to transfer this rare open space property consisting of nearly 7 acres to the City of Mercer Island in order to preserve this property for park and recreation purposes.
The Mercer Island City Council began recognizing outstanding efforts of citizens in 1990. The Council has consistently agreed that the honoree(s) should be someone who is unrecognized for his or her contributions to the Mercer Island community. Based on this criterion, the Quarles’ were an obvious and unanimous choice of this award.
The Quarles’ have been approached over the years by developers and real estate agents seeking to develop this property. Realtors estimate the fair market value for vacant land in Mercer Island at up to $2 million per acre. The Quarles transferred the 7 acres to the City of Mercer Island for a price falling far below fair market value.
The property was originally purchased by Margaret’s father Oscar Engstrom for the family’s summer country home. Margaret has fond memories of summers spent on the property including riding her horse over an “old rickety wood bridge” to Bellevue and walking 6 miles to the Roanoke to meet her father who would ride the commuter ferry from Seattle to Mercer Island. Originally, the family stayed in a tent on their waterfront property and eventually a home was constructed. The Quarles’ have retained their waterfront property east of East Mercer Way but have conveyed the remainder of the property located west of this street to the City of Mercer Island.
This significant gift to the City will serve as a lasting legacy to the family’s strong ties to the Mercer Island community and represents their strong desire to preserve the property from potential future development while providing recreational trail opportunities for future generations.
This is the second property transfer made by the Quarles’. In 2002, the family transferred 1.57 acres of property in the 6500 block of East Mercer Way to the City. The latest acquisition is just south of the initial property transfer and expands upon the ravine habitat and recreation potential - providing more opportunities to appreciate second growth forest, perched wetlands, eagle perch area and beautiful views of Lake Washington.
The City Council wishes to applaud the philanthropic actions of the Quarles and commend them for leaving a legacy for generations of future Mercer Island citizens to enjoy. The Council is thrilled to honor Margaret and Ken Quarles as the City of Mercer Island 2006 Citizens of the Year.