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Thursday, February 07, 2002

Open Space Trust Board members present
Marguerite Sutherland, Chairperson, Ira Appelman, Bill Duvall, Gail Magnuson, Jim Owens, Robert Stagman

Open Space Trust Board members absent
Jim Pearman

Pete Mayer, Director, Mercer Island Parks and Recreation
Greg Brown, Parks and Recreation Manager
Paul West, Park Arborist
Stephanie Cangie, Administrative Assistant

Ed MacLeod and Gisele Sassen of MacLeod Reckord Landscape Architects

Welcome to Jim Pearman
Postponed until next meeting.

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. in the Council chamber of City Hall, 9311 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of January 3, 2002 were unanimously approved with the following changes:
Page 4, last bulleted paragraph, change the name of Trustee Owens to read “Owens” rather than “Owen”.
Trustee Owens requested another copy of “A Model of Urban Forest Sustainability” as some pages were missing. This article was distributed at the January 3, 2002 meeting.

Old Business

Nomination of New Board Member
Director Mayer reminded the Board that at the end of March 2002 there will be two openings on the Board and encouraged the members to have citizens apply for the positions through the City Clerk’s office.

Master Plan Implementation
Presentation by Gisele Sassen and Ed MacLeod Gisele Sassen emphasized the need for decisions at this evening’s meeting in regard to design issues because of the need to adhere to the timeline so construction documents can be prepared on schedule. The three areas to be addressed are Schedule, Design Items, and Construction Process. See attachment distributed by consultant.

Parking – The following guidelines were used in designing the parking areas: Limit infringement by parked cars on park flora. Delineate parking so the boundaries are obvious. Beautify or improve entry points to the park.
NE Quadrant – Entry #2
The proposal provides more space for parking, to accommodate three vehicles. A park name sign will be added, along with an information map, a sign, and a trash bin.

NE Quadrant – Entry #2a
Transportation Planner, Nancy Fairchild, from the Development Services Group of the City is opposed to having parking at entry 2A. Paul West will contact her to clarify what improvements would be allowed and will report back to the Board. The transportation planner will require a traffic volume count before approving development at entry 2a. The proposal also includes adding a name sign and an informational map sign.

Trustee Owens questioned if entry 2A can still be used as an entrance. The answer was yes. Trustee Appelman requested a statement in writing from Nancy Fairchild regarding the limitations on existing parking spots.

Paul West reminded the board of discussions held in regard to placing a street crossing at entry 2A. He will be installing trail counters on either side of SE 68th to measure pedestrian traffic.
Trustee Duvall suggested placing the sign further in the park where the trails intersect.

NW Quadrant Entry #1
The need to create a separation between vehicles and pedestrians was discussed. There is parking for three vehicles. One of the challenges is to design a pedestrian path that connects to the trail. It will be necessary to move parking east and south to provide a 4’ distance from the road edge.

Trustee Appelman recommended allowing 45-degree parking to accommodate more vehicles. Paul West noted that the Transportation Department will not allow 45-degree parking.

The park sign will be low and mounted in a planting bed. The hitching post will be removed and the area will be replanted. There will be an informational map sign and a new bench location. The existing pedestrian path will tie-in to the parking area. Additional parking will be available on the road along the shoulder.

SE Quad Entry #3
Nancy Fairchild has advised that there can be no parking within 30 feet of the stop sign at SE 68th Street. This is part of the traffic code. The parking will be parallel only.

SE Quadrant Equestrian Trails
Gisele Sassen introduced the idea of straightening certain trails in the SE quadrant for higher speed riding (cantering) as requested by Trustee Magnuson at a previous board meeting. This might involve significant removal of vegetation.

Trustee Appelman noted that riders currently canter along the south edge of the NW quadrant. He questioned the need for more trails like this. Trustee Magnuson replied that an important part of the riding experience is faster paces. She would never canter her horse along SE 68th because of traffic. The trail along Island Crest Way that is further east and into the park is sufficiently off the road for safety and some vegetation clearing would make it good for cantering. Trustee Duvall said that he thought this could be accomplished with limited vegetation pruning and some regrading. The Board seemed to agree that this would be allowable. Trustee Owens questioned Trustee Magnuson whether she differentiates between the various trails in the interior of the SE quadrant. She said that she doesn't.

Trustee Owens wondered that if there’s a sign at entry 1, at the QFC corner, and one at the SW corner of the NE quad (a sign already in place), do we want another sign at the NW corner of the SE quad? Trustee Appelman recommended placing a sign at the NW corner of the SE quad so the public will know that the SE quadrant is part of Pioneer Park. There was a lengthy discussion about sign placement.

Paul West suggested removing the sign on the SW corner of the NE quad and putting one in the NW corner of the SE quad so people coming from the north can find the park.

He advised the trustees that in order to put any of the signs or parking areas in the right-of-way we will need to get a right-of-way encroachment agreement. The City may not let us put a sign at area 2A on the right-of-way because it might indicate parking.

Trail along Island Crest Way
The consultant suggested switching the accessible pedestrian trail to the equestrian trail along Island Crest Way and moving the equestrian trail to the location of the current pedestrian trail.

The Transportation Group from the City wants to have a crushed gravel pedestrian path along the west side of Island Crest Way as part of the TIP for Island Crest Way in 2003. Trustee Appelman reminded the Board that this decision has not been finalized, this suggestion is part of the improvements from 53rd to 68th and Island Crest Way. Paul West commented that the Board doesn’t want to be building a trail now that could ultimately be torn out. He suggested using the existing equestrian trail as the new route for the pedestrian trail and do something similar to what is across the street for vegetation. The way the path goes through the woods, especially at the north end, it is obscure and children walking to school would be invisible to the street. The transportation group suggests if the equestrian corridor becomes the new pedestrian trail, the vegetation should be lowered similar to the vegetation on the east side.

Trustee Magnuson stated that there would be no problems for horse riders to ride further in; however, she suggested that the current trail be improved and be used by both horse riders and pedestrians. Other Board members agreed with this idea, however, Trustee Sutherland expressed concern about horse droppings on the trails.

The remaining decisions that must be completed by the Board include:
  1. Location of benches
  2. Location of directional signs
  3. Drainage issues
Paul West commented that he believes the ravine trail will end up being a separate project from the rest of the Master Plan implementation. It would traverse an open sword fern valley-like sloped area. He suggested that the Board go as a group to look at the ravine area. The kind of trail the Board is hoping for may not be feasible in that valley. In order to do any building within 25 feet of a stream you are entering a “critical” area and no construction is allowed. We may be able to get a variance because of the recreational nature of the proposed trail. Possibly a SEPA checklist would be required. Paul displayed a topographical map of the ravine area.

Presentation by Ed MacLeod
Construction Documentation and Bid format

There would be a lump-sum bid with enough detail so contractors can do their own take-off of materials. Additionally, a schedule of unit prices will be required for adjustments of linear feet, wider/narrower areas on the trails, stabilization of side slopes, and additional fill where needed. For this type of situation, this is a common way to do construction and is also used by the Forest Service.

For the ravine trail, MacLeod Reckord will locate the trail route in the field just prior to construction. For the remainder of the trails, the linear feet will be measured and the site plans will depict this for the contractor. The trail surface will be 3/8” minus gravel. Page 26 of the Master Plan explains the trail surfaces. Trails will be stabilized where necessary. There will be a mineral surface on all interior trails.

Contractors will be given stockpiling areas, as well as a set of rules for performing construction in this area. The maintenance department will prepare a small portion of a trail using the same trail surface set forth in the Master Plan so the Board and passerbys can see what the final trails will be.

It was the consensus of the Board to have two picnic tables across from QFC. There is already one table there, and it is in good condition. Page 32 of the Master Plan has recommendations for bench placement.

On-Site Review
The Board agreed to meet on Saturday, February 23, 2002, at 10 a.m., on the gravel shoulder on the east side of Island Crest Way across from the Saddle Club. Some of the things the Board will accomplish at this meeting are: to see what the sample trail portion looks like, to discuss how construction will proceed, to look at the trail that was constructed in the SE Quadrant last summer, to look at sign placement, review parking decisions, and look at the ravine. Paul West will flag some of the critical areas to be reviewed. Trustee Appelman suggested establishing a “rolling” open house where the information would be available to the public any time they are in the park. It would be a self-guided tour. Director Mayer suggested assigning a number to certain sections where trail treatments start and stop and providing a brochure with an explanation of what the numbered areas mean. The staff will provide a legal notice and a press release about the February 23 walk-through to the Mercer Island Reporter.

It was the consensus of the Board publish 9,000 copies of the Trillium. Trustee Duvall will take Brian Cairns’ place along with Marguerite Sutherland to get the articles organized. The estimated cost of the 9,000 copies is $1,514.20 plus tax for printing plus $1,000 for bulk mailing. The Board decided to order two colors on two sides and prepare four pages, as was used in previous Trillium publications.

Trustee Appelman questioned where the money would come from to produce this publication. Director Mayer replied that the Board does not have a budget; the cost of this publication will come out of the Parks and Recreation Department Operating Budget.

Annual Walk-Through
Trustee Appelman reported on his walk-through, as directed by the Board at its January meeting. He reported as follows:
  • The NW Quadrant’s perimeter trail is in good condition but slippery. Puddles build up in certain spots. The Alan Cordova interpretive sign closest to Island Crest Way is not warped. The area without new gravel where the horses walk is very muddy; the new gravel did not appear to be packed down. He did not see anyone using the inner trails.
  • The SE Quadrant was in the worst condition compared to the other two quadrants. The area prepared by the Boy Scout group was in good condition. The upper part of the SE Quadrant is very muddy; the lower part of the SE Quadrant was in somewhat better condition.
  • He suggested that someone take before and after photos including a photo of the gravel area. Photos might help us demonstrate how we are spending the Master Plan implementation funds.
  • Trustee Appelman checked some of the silver maples in the SE Quadrant but they did not appear to be doing well…they are in an extremely dubious state. Some of the cedars recently planted are very green but some are looking brown. Paul West stated that there is a follow-up plan in place to evaluate the plants that were planted this year; he is committed to spending some of the Forest Management CIP budget on maintaining what has already been planted.

New Business

Gift for Bryan Cairns
Paul West showed the Trustees a framed photo of the snag on Island Crest Way which will be given to Bryan Cairns in appreciation of his service on the Open Space Conservancy Trust Board. (This is a humorous award because Bryan dislikes that snag.)

Photograph Project
Trustee Sutherland showed several slides of photographs of Pioneer Park, taken by Ruth Gross, a professional photographer and Island resident. The Board agreed that Trustee Sutherland should contact the City of Mercer Island regarding having photos of Pioneer Park displayed in city hall. She will research the cost of having photos enlarged and framed, with an engraved identification plate. Director Mayer will work with Trustee Sutherland.

Next Meeting
The next meeting is scheduled for February 23, 2002, at 10 a.m. at Pioneer Park. There will be a regular meeting on March 7, 2002, at 7:30 p.m., in the City Council chambers in City Hall.

[Important Note: The proceedings of the Open Space Trust Board meeting were recorded on tape and are filed in the Parks & Rec Department. The complete agenda and official minutes of this meeting are also filed in the Parks & Rec Department.]


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