The city of Monroe is preparing for the future of a popular community park and the addition of another.

Master planning is about to begin for Lake Tye Park and approximately 140 acres owned by Cadman Inc., located near the Sky Valley Food Bank, Monroe Boys and Girls Clubs and Skykomish River Park. The latter will be transferred over and developed sometime after the process ends, said Monroe Parks and Recreation director Mike Farrell.

The Monroe City Council approved Mayor Geoffrey Thomas to sign a consultant agreement for the design of two separate plans in July with Seattle-based HBB Landscape Architecture. The concurrent projects are accounted for in the 2017 budget and costs are capped at $130,000. Farrell said the money is coming from Monroe’s parks department Capital Improvement Project fund.

The next step will be to seek guidance from the public. The city has put out a survey, and a “Pop-Up Studio” will be held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. followed by an open house 6-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 15-16, at the Monroe Boys and Girls Clubs.

Farrell said both sites have similarities, such as water access, close proximity to neighborhoods and the potential to connect to regional trail systems. Each is also distinctly different, he said.

Attendance at Lake Tye has been growing, Farrell said. People are trying out new sports on the 40-acre lake, such as paddle boarding, and more regional events like wakeboard competitions and 5K runs on the 1.5-mile loop are being scheduled, he said.

Farrell said the increased use has put some pressure on facilities. The list for potential renovations also has been expanding. All are motivators for the city’s decision to create a new master plan for the park, he said.

Some of the final proposal for the 64-acre property will likely include refinement of what is already working, Farrell said. Hopefully some new ideas will come from the master plan project. He suggested landscaping, improved parking, new pathways and additions to the beach area, but the city wants to hear from the community, he said.

“It makes sense for us to go through this planning process to make sure we are designing something where we minimize conflicts, and we are actually able to add diversity of experiences at the parks and also address the changing demographics and the interests of our community,” Farrell said.

A number of other improvements are already detailed in Monroe’s 2015-2035 Comprehensive Plan, Farrell said. One will be to turn the natural grass fields, which have seen their share of wear and tear from soccer, lacrosse and football events, into all-weather turf fields, he said.

Lake Tye Park’s skate park was upgraded within the past two years, and the playground was leveled and reconstructed to have inclusive features for all ages this spring.

The last time Monroe established an entirely new facility was about eight years ago, Farrell said.

Monroe Rotary Park opened in 2008. The Monroe Rotary Club led fundraising efforts to pay for the ADA-accessible, all-weather youth baseball fields.

The Cadman site is essentially a blank slate for Monroe, Farrell said.

A master plan for the property was prepared in 1998 by Cadman Inc., Farrell wrote in an email. Once mining was complete, the Redmond-based company will convey the land to the city, per the terms for their use permit, he wrote.

Cadman is working with the Washington Department of Natural Resources to finish up reclamation of the site while the master plan is being completed, Farrell said. The handover is precipitating the future park’s master plan process, he said.

Farrell said he would like to see a loop trail constructed around the decommissioned mining pit, which now functions as a roughly 15-acre pond. He said he sees the wooded wetlands and shoreline habitat as an opportunity to install educational displays.

Flooding issues common to the area may limit options like playground equipment in some places, Farrell said. Once the master plan is complete, the city should have a better idea of environmental constraints, he said.

Newly arrived city administrator Deborah Knight said both parks could serve as a hub for residents and visitors wanting take advantage of the Sky Valley’s recreation opportunities. Monroe would be the place to start the day at and return to each night after spending time outside, she said. 

Knight said the city is very appreciative Cadman is donating the property.

Farrell said the parks could add links to the Centennial Trail and Sky to Sound Water Trail, which will stretch from the north and south forks of the Skykomish River, to merge with the Snoqualmie River and make its way out to the Puget Sound.

Farrell said the costs for implementing the master plans are unknown at this time. Those estimates will likely be a part of the documents. Developing timelines for different phases will also be a part of the process, he said.

“We are excited to get this project going and really look forward to a lot of input from the community, so we can provide — through these master plan designs — what the public wants for our community,” Farrell said.

Click here to take the city’s survey, and for updates on the master plans visit monroewa.gov.