Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan

Share Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan on Facebook Share Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan on Twitter Share Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan on Linkedin Email Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan link

Consultation has concluded

A blue and green logo that says 2021 PROS Plan: Envision, Engage, Experience. Logo includes a smiling frog standing up and waving.

Restarting the PROS Plan Process

After suspending work on the PROS Plan due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the "re-boot" of the 2022 PROS Plan began in early 2021.

This page was created to allow community members to follow along and have access to project materials, background information, updates to the process, and opportunities to engage in this important plan to shape the future of our parks and programs.

Restarting the PROS Plan Process

After suspending work on the PROS Plan due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the "re-boot" of the 2022 PROS Plan began in early 2021.

This page was created to allow community members to follow along and have access to project materials, background information, updates to the process, and opportunities to engage in this important plan to shape the future of our parks and programs.

Guest Book

Please post your comment below; all comments will be considered as part of the public record and reviewed by staff. Be a good neighbor and keep your comments civil - please refer to our moderation policy for more details.  If you have a question, please submit it through the Ask A Question tool for a staff response.

Want to give us your input? Provide it here!
Consultation has concluded
You need to be signed in to comment in this Guest Book. Click here to Sign In or Register to get involved

Wherever possible, it would be great to see more outdoor pickle ball courts. It is sport that everyone of any age can enjoy and is much more affordable to get equipped than tennis. The pickle ball community is an open one which invites anybody who shows up to play AND you can squeeze twice as many pickle ball courts in a confined area than tennis courts. Don't get me wrong - I absolutely LOVE to play tennis but I feel that community pickle ball courts make a lot of sense.

Molly about 3 years ago

An ambitious plan for Luther Burbank would be to build a swimming pool where the tennis courts are and put the tennis or pickle ball courts on the roof. Mary Wayte Pool is at the end of many life times and that site could be used for other school district related needs.
The plant could be transformed into a high end restaurant and concessions stand that wold help fund park maintenance.
Make Mercerdale Park more active and better planned. The drainage needs to be fixed so it isn't continually soggy. The City could sponsor a design competition for ideas on how to better use it.

Lifer about 3 years ago

There is a immediate and future need for outdoor pickle ball courts on Mercer Island. Please consider making the tennis courts at Luther Burbank pickle ball courts in the VERY NEAR Future!
Please also consider activating Mercerdale park by reworking the recycle center into a covered pickle ball court as well as a multi purpose COVERED OUTDOOR space for small concerts, classes, exercise groups, supporting the Farmers Market needs for storage and sinks/etc, and park bathrooms!

EastSeattle about 3 years ago

Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in America. And, it has a huge following in the Seattle area and on Mercer Island. The community center was one of the premier venues for the game in this area. Recently the courts at Luther Burbank were transformed into pickleball courts to accommodate the closing of the community center. This has been a wonderful success. The courts are popular and well used by Mercer Islanders as well as others from Seattle and the Eastside. Reconfiguring and resurfacing the courts would be a great benefit to this ever growing pickleball community. And, as was the case at the community center, it will be an ongoing stream of income for the city. Pickleball players are happy to pay for their experience and support the town that provides that experience.

Tom Robinson over 3 years ago

Hi. I would love to see some dedicated pickle ball courts on the Island. I have played tennis for years and am fairly new to pickle ball. Great game and great for multiple ages. I would love to see either more dedicated pickle ball courts on the island or existing tennis courts double lined for both sports. I see lots of comments regarding indoor pickle ball - this also sounds like a fabulous idea. Thanks!

Marcia over 3 years ago

When it reopens, could the Mercer Island Community Center keep its indoor drop-in pickleball on MWF from 9 to 2, as well as on one weekend day, presently on Sunday (12 to 4 would be nice); additionally, could we have drop-in pickleball play on two nights each week, eg, Tues and Thurs from 5 to 9, to accommodate those of us that work.
Additionally, the 3 temporary outdoor pickleball courts at Luther Burbank Park should be formally recognized and maintained as such. Cleaning the moss build up on the courts and getting them painred would be so appreciated! The next step would be in the near future to convert them to 6 permanent dedicated pickleball courts with standing nets, which would make Luther Burbank a destination place to play and which could also easily be used when the in-door play at MICEC gets over crowded.
Please plan for growth in the long term. The number of pickleball players is growing 10% a year. This means that the number of players approximately doubles every 7 years.

Shara over 3 years ago

Please give the PBall players 6 courts from 9:30 - 3:00, Double paint all tennis courts on the Isl. for tennis and pickleball so both sports can play if space is available. Please include 1 weekend day in the afternoon.

SFZ over 3 years ago

Please make more than 3 courts available at Micec at 9:30, or as long as possible before the current Noon 6-court availability time.

JFMc over 3 years ago

I am another new pickleball player advocating for more public courts on Mercer Island. Please add more courts at Luther Burbank and adding some at Homestead and the lid, converting some of the existing tennis courts. Having never played indoors I look forward to getting to play at the Community Center.

Paul Sommer over 3 years ago

PICKLEBALL players need more courts! Please convert Luther Burbank to 6-8 dedicated courts AND/OR convert one court at each of the tennis court locations on the island (Homestead and Island Crest parks). Also, when the Community Center reopens, please continue to have open pickleball court time several days a week and on one weekend day. Thanks, Laura Selby

LSelby over 3 years ago

Pickleball is picking up - please install permanent courts in all the areas that have area for it: North End (LBP), Middle (Island Crest Park or at Homestead Park) and South End (near baseball fields). All three are necessary to meet the increasing demand throughout the island. This article is 2 years old and the growth has accelerated since then:

MI Resident2 over 3 years ago

Would appreciate consideration of converting a tennis court(s) to pickleball use.

Callie over 3 years ago

On March 4, 2020: Dear Ryan Daly, My name is Sue Jung, and I live on Mercer Island with my husband and 2 children. Since all our family members are tennis players, it came to our attention that there are no indoor tennis courts on Mercer Island. It was quite surprising to us. It rains half of the year in this region that how anybody on the island find a way to play tennis during the rainy season? Many juniors/adults’ tennis players on the island have no place to train on the island during the rainy season (which often is longer than 7 to 8 month) so we travel far outside of the island to find indoor courts to get our training done. Mercer Island Country Club is the only club on the island has indoor courts however, it is limited to members and therefore, overly crowded and hard to reserve courts even for members. Other cities like Seattle or Bellevue already have their public indoor tennis facilities. (Robinswood, Amy Yee, Sand Point) I have a son who is in middle school playing competitive tennis. Every week, he has to travel from Mercer island to Kirkland to get his tennis training. We spend average of 1.5 hrs on the road roundtrip every time we take our son to his tennis training. It is not only for my son, but for most of if not all the junior tennis players on Mercer Island are going through the same things as my son. We often wish, there were indoor courts on the island. It is so difficult to find a balance between sports training time with study for student athletes. I can’t imagine If we have an option to stay on the island to train, it will save so much time on traveling so we could use that time to do their homework and eat proper dinner at home. There are 5 public outdoor courts on the island but none of them are being used during the rainy season. Especially the courts in Luther Burbank are not being used even during the sunny season due to the outdated court condition. Are there any ways that we can transform any one of these courts to indoor tennis courts? Even if just putting up a bubble over the courts during the rainy season would be a great help. We believe that having an indoor facility will benefit a lot of people on the island to stay active and healthy during the rainy season as well. Please Let us know if there is anything we can do to help and what we need to do to make this happen. Thank you for your time and consideration and we look forward to further discuss about it. Sincerely, Sue Jung

Sarah Bluvas over 4 years ago

On December 30: I’m not sure who to contact but I would like to put in a “citizen” request for consideration to the right parties for low level path lighting in Mercerdale Park. The park is receiving wonderful and increased use year round now, perhaps due to our increased “urban” density. It’s amazing to see how many citizens use the park during fall and winter months even with fading early evening light.

Would you forward this request to the appropriate parties for consideration of low level path lighting for the paved walkway that circles the interior of the park? It would be such a nice addition to our downtown area and make the park both attractive and perhaps safer at night than the “dark hole” it is during fall and winter months now.

Much Appreciated
Kerry Hodges

Paul West over 4 years ago

On December 18, 2019:

First, I want to congratulate you, your staff, and the Commissioners in attendance for a very well-run meeting that included thoughtful and spirited debate, a wide spectrum of insights, and a very transparent desire “to do the right thing”.
Second, I sincerely appreciate the Commission reviewing my comments, and thoughtfully considering them. I apologize for the last-minute sending of them.

Regarding the process moving forward, as I mentioned briefly last evening, I believe a critical component of survey methodology is to field test (or beta test) the questions to ensure that they are clear and understandable and elicit the type of responses you are looking for. I believe you indicated that such a step is in the survey timeline.
As the Commission reviewed the survey questions, I jotted down a few comments/edits for consideration.

Intro. There was a discussion about whether the respondent should represent his/her own views or those of the household. I believe a more robust response will come from a “household view” as it ensures that those under 18 are fully represented. There should be a statement to that effect in the survey directions.

Q2. While the response list based on frequency is fine, I thought about a seasonal bias (summer vs. winter) and if that was of interest in terms of usage. Qualitatively, we know the direction of that answer, but whether a quantitative answer is of value is posed here.

Q4. I concurred with Commissioner Cohen’s suggestion to move the “cost prohibitive” response to a lower ranking. Also, as one thinks about responses, I believe the response list can be categorized by groups and perhaps a cumulative cross-tab of these results may be illuminating.
A “safety” concern would encompass three responses – barriers, do not feel safe, conflicts.
A “physical” concern would encompass six responses – not appropriate equipment, not well maintained, too crowded, too far, parking and bathrooms.
A “personal choice” concern could be two responses – too busy, and use other facilities.

Q6. There was extensive discussion of whether the list of facilities/amenities should be existing ones and/or new ones. I believe the conclusion was to just have existing ones listed, and then add an open-ended question about new or other ones. I believe this is the correct approach.

Q8. A couple of suggestions with respect to the list:
First, I would combine King County and State/Federal parks/lands into a category labelled “Off-Island Parks and Open Space (e.g. county, state or federal). I believe the response being elicited is how likely is one to use non-MI parks.
Second, with respect to the response regarding “Private Clubs” and “Health Clubs” I initially interpreted that to mean MI-located, but in the discussion, I believe it was meant to be any location. I would make the distinction explicit to eliminate a potential “cross-pollination” of responses. Similarly, does “school facilities” and churches/faith center facilities mean on- and off-Island?
I believe the overall question is attempting to understand usage patterns with respect to on-Island facilities.
One way to eliminate the cross-pollination is to bifurcate each response as to on- vs. off-Island usage, or just explicitly label each as to On-Island and then have a single “off-Island” usage response.

As I noted I will be travelling on 1/8 and unable to attend the next meeting. I wish you and the Commission all the best as you move forward on this project.
Thank you.

Peter Struck

Paul West over 4 years ago

On December 18, 2019:
Thanks Ryan, I thought the meeting last night was very good. The commission members appeared very committed to making sure as broad a spectrum of the citizens as possible are involved in this process. I thought they were very unideological. (I wish our planning commission took that approach). Thanks to Lloyd Gillman, Matt Goldbach, John Hall, Peter Struck, Gary Robinson and Victor Raises for attending. I was impressed when the commission asked if anyone wanted to speak and amended their agenda to allow Peter to speak, and took his comments to heart.

I understand this survey targets recreation (many of which don't involve the parks but instead the MICEC) and how citizens use the parks, or would like to use the parks. I was a little concerned there wasn't a question asking citizens whether they would be willing to develop or use up current green spaces in the parks for new recreation, but the commission had the same concern.

I was glad we were able to speak afterwards. I agree with most citizens that permanently protecting our parks should be a council goal, although I am not sure that is an issue for the commission. That is a political decision, if for no other reason than to pass -- and ideally increase -- a parks levy, although a recommendation from the commission to the council wouldn't hurt. The commission's goal is to balance recreation and use of the parks with open space and passive uses, IMO, and to highlight future costs of our parks.

I was glad we generally agree that the number one priority is to highlight and focus on the infrastructure needs for the parks, and that will come later on in this process. I personally believe our parks are well run and utilized right now, and the citizens overall are pretty happy with the parks as is (which makes it harder to get them involved), and it is the infrastructure upgrades that are key. I think the citizens would be open to a new parks levy that is larger than the current levy if that levy focuses on specific infrastructure upgrades that are necessary and their cost. After all the recent King Co. parks levy passed, and MI pays $2.68 million in year one but receives back $238,000/year. Overall the citizens are realists when it comes to taxes.
D. Thompson

Paul West over 4 years ago

On December 17, 2019:
I forgot to mention Ryan's excellent comments on page 46 noting the recent move away from a certain number of active uses (e.g. basketball courts per 1000 citizens) to the benefits of open space on emotional well being when creating park master plans. It was very encouraging to me to hear Ryan say this.
D. Thompson

Paul West over 4 years ago

On December 17, 2019:
Tonight, the Commission is reviewing a final draft of a proposed community survey (“Parks, Recreation & Open Space Community Survey”) regarding residents’ attitudes and desires for its parks and open spaces. As I understand, this survey will help inform the Commission, City staff and consultants as they prepare a new strategic plan, i.e., PROS Plan, for the parks.
In reviewing the minutes of the November 7th meeting there was discussion about how to solicit public input in the process.
An initial question is whether there has been an outreach to residents about what topics should be included in the survey. To my knowledge and the knowledge of others that I have asked is little to none. For example, there are several citizen groups on the Island dedicated to parks and open space preservation and improvement that may have valuable input that would make the survey more meaningful (and actionable).
Thus, right off the bat, it’s a bit disingenuous to state there is community involvement when the principal communication method locks out citizen input at the start. For example, in reviewing the Let’s Talk page dedicated to the PROS Plan, only one community member has signed up for project updates.
The current draft of the survey has several high-level questions to ascertain the community’s views on parks, activities, and facilities including usage, behavior patterns, needs, level of satisfaction, etc.
I’d like to suggest a few key topics are missing.
 Protecting the Parks – the community has become highly sensitized to the basic issue of our parks appear to be under continue attack for development; the survey provides an ideal opportunity to provide feedback to the City about how residents feel on this issue.
 Minimizing Climate Change – Parks, in their natural (non or minimally developed) state provide wonderful and healthy benefits as well as their well-documented help to combat climate change. Thus, should there be a guiding principle in the management of our parks to not increase the “net impervious surface” of those lands.
 Adding More Parkland/Open Space – As the population of Mercer Island grows and with the opening of the light rail station (2023) more visitors to our parks should be expected. Should the City seek funding (e.g. King County park levy funds, etc.) or re-prioritize existing funding to seek additional space as such becomes available.

More specific questions to consider adding/modifying:
 Do you need to go off-Island for various recreational activities that could be accommodated locally?
o If so, what are they? _____________
(This question looks outside of the normal list of activities to see if there is a demand for service that is not being met – the current question #8 could be formatted slightly to address this concern.)
 In question #9, respondents are asked what priority they would attach to several events that have been (or are) sponsored by the City. What is missing is the cost associated with those activities so that one can make a value judgement. In these times of financial sustainability, I believe the City has to honest and forthright with the community as to what things cost. I think the City runs the risk of having the community say activity XX is a high priority, but then have the City Council say they don’t have the funds to support it. Let the community judge for themselves, and this survey provides that opportunity.

Thank you, and I look forward to your discussion tonight.

Peter Struck

Paul West over 4 years ago

On December 17, 2019:
Hi Ryan and Paul, attached is the CART transcript from the 12-4-2019 Planning Commission Meeting in which you gave an overview of the upcoming PROS plan.

On Page 13 you note "In your packet, there is a scope of work our consultant is working on". Could you email me and copy the others listed above whatever you submitted to the planning commission re: the scope of work to date. You may also want to post it to Let's Talk.

Also discussed on pages 35-37 is CCMIP's proposal for a conservancy trust for the parks. Although I agree with permanently protecting the parks, I believe a simpler approach would be to create a zone for parks, and then amend the comp. plan and dev. code to require a vote of the citizens to amend that zoning designation. This would forgo the need for trustees, and leave the decision making in the hands of the citizens as to rezoning the parks but leave ultimate authority over funding of the parks in the hands of the council, something I think Jessi was concerned about at the mini-planning session. I am happy to see this idea will be part of the PROS plan.

Next I thought commissioner Ted Weinberg gave a very good statement on the importance of green spaces and passive recreation in our parks, in which he noted the deer and birds don't vote and so generally get the short end of the stick when it comes to active vs. passive recreation.

Commissioner Boatsman makes a common mistake on pages 35-37 in which she fails to distinguish between park related development which is allowed in parks, and non-park related development which is not. For example, when Kite Hill was not formally part of the park master plan a regional commuter parking lot was an allowed use in the Public institution zone whereas a regional commuter parking lot is not an allowed use in the parks, although a park related parking lot is.

The reason I raise this issue is because I am concerned the demands for active recreation in the parks, and the relentless increases in impervious surfaces in the parks, neglect to consider the importance of passive green spaces and change the character of our parks. There are many special interests who will no doubt propose uses for our parks, but not really a special interest for green spaces, solitude, and passive recreation. One use I really worry about is converting grass to artificial turf, because natural grass although expensive to maintain allows both uses, whereas artificial turf does not.

Finally I want to mention a common misperception commissioner Mechem makes on page 41, and that is her comment since Mercer Island has a disproportionate amount of park acreage compared to its population using some of the park land for non-park related development is no big deal. Here is a link to the 2014-2019 Parks and Recreation Plan you worked on.

As noted on page 45 Mercer Island -- which at that time had a population of around 22,000+ compared to 26,000 today, had a lower ratio of park acreage to 1000 citizens than Issaquah (52.9 acres/20.8), Redmond (28 acres /20.8) and Bellevue (21.8 acres/20.8).

Considering our 15% population gain over the last six years this ratio has only decreased. Therefore I disagree with commissioner Mechem that MI has park land to spare to develop for non-park related uses.

I hope to see you tonight and would ask you forward this email and attachment onto the parks and recreation commissioners.

D. Thompson

Paul West over 4 years ago

On December 16, 2019:
Good morning, I am emailing you in that I do believe that your agency is getting paid to come up with survey questions to pose to Mercer Islanders and I just wanted to make sure that these are some of the concerns that Mercer Islanders have and would like to make sure that there are questions which have to do with the following:
We are concerned about special interests who want the parks for some kind of development , such as Bike Groups, who want to pave bike paths, or developers who want to develop the parks and deem them "affordable housing," or for "workforce housing" or to add more parking in the parks under the guise of "ADA",
And looking at the survey questions, you seem to be gearing it towards more sports and arts facilities, We don't want more sports facilities in that that leads to artificial turf. We want a ban on that.
And what is not menitioned is all the toxic herbicides, where are the questions about how do we feel about toxic herbicides in our parks? We don't want it, but our City keep shoving them into our parks. We want the ivy cleaned up without the use of toxic herbicides.

In summary, what we want is our parks to either be put in a Trust to protect them, once and for all, from being allowed to be paved over and taking green space.
We don't want toxic herbicides shoved in our parks. .
We don't want artificial turf shoved anywhere on our island and we don't want trees removed just for being "non-native".
And I don't know if you are aware, but our City has financial problems, so we don't want money spent on boondoggle projects.
We want the parks kept as natural as possible.

So, hopefuly, the questions that you will help have questions drafted which will incorporate what I am asking above. We have too many outsider interests wanting to do things to our parks. And if it comes down to it, we would request a vote by the citizens should the City/Parks Commission want to do something major to our parks, such as putting a Theater in it, that kind of thing.

Thank you for your consideration.

S. Fletcher

Paul West over 4 years ago