Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan

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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

We are opposed to the proposal for building a large "bike skills" area in Luther Burbank Park. It's important to protect the natural environment and prevent damage to the trees and other plants. Bicyclists (especially children, since they may less inclined to exercise caution) can present a danger to those walking the trails. And there are more urgent needs for the $200K cost - for example, shoring up our aging sewer and water supply systems!

mjislandinfo 9 months ago

As a coach of our growing Mercer Island Mountain Bike Team and parks supporter I'm happy to see the bike skills area included in the draft PROS plan. Developing opportunities for the community to have access to purpose-built trails where youth can develop skills without the need to travel several miles off island is a huge asset for our island. Having facilities in our back yard is vital to building healthy habits for our youth. I hope that this builds the next wave of young girls and boys for our MI Mountain Bike team. Thanks to MI Parks and Earthcorps team for the opportunity to work on improving the area in Upper Luther Burbank as the first step toward the return of the bike skills area in line with the Upper Luther Burbank master plan.

Brian Shiers 10 months ago

Regarding the illegal bike course in Upper Luther Burbank Park, during the past 2 years, youth created illegal trails outside their illegally constructed jump area.  Carving new paths is part of the mountain bike culture but not a trait acceptable within a small open space park like Upper Luther Burbank Park.  A huge area was totally denuded – without enforcement by the City. I urge the Council to reconsider this matter and direct the Parks Commission to either find a better and safer site that does not destroy existing park land, or eliminate this perceived need for biking skills for our youth. Give the park back to those who appreciate nature, or want to walk its trails. This park needs to be put into the Open Space Conservancy trust if the Council does not adhere to the current Master Plan. The creation of this course is not part of the Master Plan for Luther Burbank Park of which Upper Luther is a part. It benefits only a minority of our youth, mostly teen boys, encouraged by their parents. I do not object to the activity of super biking skills, but object to the implementation of this course in one of our parks, and of the destruction of forest trees and foliage. It is not a high priority activity. And should not be funded. --ProParkPerson

Judith 10 months ago

I live just south of Pioneer Park on 91st Ave SE. Our south island community would be much safer it there were walking paths on BOTH sides of Island Crest Way from 79th Ave to 68th street (the 4 way stop) so residents don't have to zig zag back and forth across ICW use the trails and get to the south shopping area. ICW is narrow and dark in that southern section, so pathways on both sides would make the community safer for walkers, runners and kids getting to the elementary and middle school. It's a major road that should be safe for all. Thank you!

Also, the SE Quadrant of Pioneer Park should have a perimeter trail that is actually a full perimeter. At the SE Perimeter trail entrance of the SE Quadrant, (coming off of 92nd Ave) the "Perimeter Trail" doesn't connect to the western trail until the middle of the quadrant, and residents have to backtrack to get west. It wouldn't take much to add a short trail that connects the SE Perimeter Trail to the Fox Trail (directly to the west) to make an actual perimeter. Thank you!

DNR 10 months ago

Could you please explain when a Report has "Public Review Draft," what does that mean exactly? Does it mean that the public get to review it or does it mean that it is a "Final Draft?" You see, in the AB6001, the consultant is referring to the PROS Plan as a "Public Review Draft," but the City staff are referring to it as a "Final Draft," and asking the City Council to approve the "Final Draft." And if there are technical difficulties, does a subject just get approved regardless? Thanks.

fletchsa1 10 months ago

I have never seen something as dishonest as this PROS Plan. First of all, it is not a "FINAL" draft. It has stamped on it, in red lettering: "PUBLIC REVIEW DRAFT." And as it is a public review draft, does that not mean you want the public to comment on it? Why did the Consultant refer to it as a "public review draft" but the City staff are referring to it as "FINAL DRAFT," and asking the City Council to approve the "FINAL DRAFT" which it is not?
It has in the Footnote:
"1. Due to a technical issue, the question asked at the public meeting was missing one of the response options that was part of the presentation, which was "Build new connecting trails in existing parks to link walking and running routes throughout Mercer Island. This may have affected the results.""
If their equipment is not working, they don't just assume that that is what those surveyed and Craig deciding that that is what we want. And don't you find it odd that in the question before that one, people responded that there was enough land for parks, trails and open space?
"Was there enough land for parks, trails and open space?" The results were 54% (the majority).
It is more like you have an agenda and you did not want the answers and you certainly don't want comments from the public.
This PROS Plan is not to go into The Comprehensive Plan. Please do not include it.

fletchsa1 10 months ago

As noted by The New York Times and many other major publications, the activity of mountain biking has numerous health benefits and works well in a socially distanced world. Moreover, mountain biking has seen extraordinary growth in popularity over the last decade, and that growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/20/travel/mountain-biking-vacation.html

Other cities and towns around Washington State have acknowledged this trend and supported their residents by expanding mountain biking trails and training areas. In fact, Mercer Island's 2006 Master Plan for Luther Burbank included the bike track, which showed a need for it even back then, and that was before mountain biking's further acceleration in growth.

(As an aside, the 2006 Master Plan also proposed building a canopy tree house and an aerial ropes course above the bike track, which is also very intriguing.)

Overall, I would like to see the Upper Luther Burbank Bike Skills Area, which many Mercer Island residents refer to as Snake Hill, reopened and potentially expanded beyond its current footprint to support the growth of this activity on Mercer Island.

Also, in the future, I would like the City to directly engage its large biking community before making any major decisions that directly impact that community, such as the sudden closure of the Bike Skills Area.

Thank you for your consideration.

Jay Greer about 1 year ago

Friends of Luther Burbank Park thanks the city for the temporary shutdown of the BMX course that has had high levels of vandalism in Upper Luther Burbank Park in the past 18 months. Friends understands a consultant has been hired and visited the location during this "time out". Mountain bike youth have burrowed under mature trees to build jumps - some of illegal heights. They've build illegal trails and moved boundary stakes to enlarge the area from 60 feet long in 2006 to 320 feet long and 70 feet wide today. Upper Luther is a steep and silty open space park where the watercourse has to be piped to a retention pond at the base so that silt won't dump into Lake Washington. Myra Lupton and her husband, Homer had to dredge their sailboat moorage area due to silt from Upper Luther some years back. Friends of Luther Burbank Park members are eager to get the professional review known by the community. Until then, we thank the city for taking the only action reasonable to keep from incurring more damage over these winter months.
Friends of Luther Burbank Park board

sue about 1 year ago

A rain garden and native wildflower meadow downtown

The recycling center was build many years ago and the land for the building and parking lot was taken from Mercerdale Park. The agreement was that if the recycling center closed, the land would revert to Mercerdale Park. This seen to have been forgotten.

At least part of this oversight can be rectified. The south end of the parking area should be returned to the park in the form of a rain garden on the west end of the area and a native wildflower meadow on the east end. This would solve the problem of the parking area flooding every winter and improve the quality of water that flows into downtown's most polluted stream. Additionally, at least part of the original agreement would be satisfied by returning the parking lot to valuable park land. Both the rain garden and the wildflower meadow would provide valuable education for properly owners to see what can be done in a rain garden and maybe turning grass only walked on when mowed into native wildflower meadows for our pollinators.

rmoore about 1 year ago

Reading through the past comments it is amazing how much time has passed, including the accessible playground at Mercerdale Park and Luther Burbank waterfront remodel, both good projects, and good learning lessons for the sensitive process of developing our parks, in part because both began because they were necessary, not discretionary.

However, when I look through the capital facilities plan I see way too much concrete and impervious surfaces for a lot of projects I don't think would survive public scrutiny if subject to the process for the accessible playground (and its cost) and the Luther Burbank waterfront remodel, especially after the parks commission adopted a "no new net impervious surface" policy. Some of the proposed capital projects strike me as projects for projects sakes.

I am also surprised to not see on the list a new irrigation system for Aubrey Davis Park. We lost many, many mature trees this summer and last summer due to inadequate watering.

This is especially true for the Lid Park and much of Aubrey Davis Park, because that master plan was based on old thinking and a flawed process, before the parks commission was formed, and represents an antiquated approach to park planning in which the greater the surrounding population density the more green space is converted into recreation and amenities, until there is no more green space. In fact, the greater the surrounding population density the more critical green spaces and solitude are.

I have posted on the issues I think are critical for the PROS plan on ND. The elephant in the room is renewing the parks levy that expires in 2023 (and was pretty much DOA after the Aubrey Davis Park Master Plan but looks better now), permanently protecting park zoning, limiting park related development, off-leash dogs, mixed use paths and slowing bike speeds and the grant that is back before the legislature for more options on traffic calming in the Lid Park, and of course the cost of recreation programs and their fees.


The other issue is a very critical lifestyle metric, and that is park acres per 1000 citizens. Even in the 2014 PROS plan MI was middle of the pack for eastside cities, and with our exploding population that ratio has declined further. First the council needs to stop rezoning park land into commercial property, and second the city and council need to figure out a way to fund their promise to create more park land.

Daniel Thompson about 1 year ago

I suggest planting a 100 ft Spruce in the old Recycling Center asphalt area to make sure that nobody gets the the idea to build something else there

briank about 1 year ago

I would like to speak in favor of adding the rehabilitation of the “recycling” asphalt to Mercerdale Park.
It would restore the land to its native condition, reduce rain runoff and could be added to be native plant garden.
This is one way to increase Mercer Island parklands without additional acreage acquisition costs.

Bonnie about 1 year ago

Proposal: Expansion of the Mercerdale Park Native Garden

I support a new proposal to decrease impervious surface and expand green space in Mercerdale Park. The asphalt adjoining the Recycling Center is seldom used, is rapidly deteriorating, and is in need of repair. This project proposes to return the southern one-half of the paved area to a natural state that would enjoin the existing Native Garden. The project would decrease impervious surface, remedy existing drainage issues, help to preserve local wetlands, and provide additional living space for native flora and fauna. Stay tuned at www.protectMIparks.org for more information. For questions, ideas, feedback, and/or to help us protect our parkland, please email CCMIP at protectMIparks@gmail.com.

Thank you to the City for providing various opportunities for citizens to find out about, and comment on, upcoming issues, projects, and proposals.

It’s important for citizens who love our parkland to speak up and be heard at two upcoming Zoom meetings sponsored by the City:
1. Tuesday, September 28th (5:30-7:00 pm): Zoom Open House to gather Islanders’ input for the new Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan. This important Plan includes how Mercer Island parks & open spaces should be developed. To participate in the meeting, and in the small discussion groups, you must “register” in advance for the meeting using this link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEkf-mgqz0rH93C9JablE7FFaH_lgJR8JGb

2. Thursday, October 7th, (5:30 pm) Parks & Recreation Commission Zoom Meeting. For information about how to register for and speak at this meeting, please email CCMIP at protectmiparks@gmail.com

Meg Lippert

meg.lippert about 1 year ago

The demand for Pickleball has only grown. Please convert some tennis courts to be used for pickleball too at Homestead, Island Crest Park and Luther Burbank. Also, please convert the rarely used baseball diamond area at the South Fields to permanent pickleball courts (this leaves the 2 new, beautifully constructed baseball fields there).

MI Resident2 about 1 year ago

The initial virtual Public meeting on March 23rd, 2021 was not representative of what the community written survey demonstrated to be of the most importance to our citizenry. The Zoom screens were inundated by one particular small group of youth and their parents which has skewed the focus. The process needs correction. There was strong mention of mountain biking in Snake Hill...which is not even a park on Mercer Island. The city will be better served by an in person meeting on September 28th. We respect the effort to achieve forward movement during COVID but the first meeting did not allow for thoughtful park users to articulate broader park uses. Please work to make this process more inclusive - which may mean selecting spokespersons for different parks with timed comment periods. The first virtual public meeting was not at all representative of our fine park loving community.

sue over 1 year ago

The tennis courts located at Luther Burbank are in need of repair. I support converting these courts into 12 pickleball courts in the near future.

Cro over 1 year ago

I support converting the tennis courts at Luther Burbank into pickleball courts! Pickleball is a sport for ALL ages and abilities and such a great way to build community. Although the MI Community Center has indoor PB on certain days, there's just not enough courts available for families.

MIMOM over 1 year ago

I think converting the tennis courts at Luther Burbank into pickleball courts would be absolutely fantastic! I can't tell you how many people I've talked with lately who want to get into the sport and Luther Burbank is an ideal location. There are many other places to play tennis on the island and this would become "The" place for pickleball. Pickleball is such an inclusive sport because it's easy to learn (hard to master!) and is super fun and social for all ages and abilities. I would strongly encourage the city to put in as many pickleball courts as possible. Luther Burbank is already one of the coolest parks around and adding the pickleball courts would just make it that much more special!

Billy Poll over 1 year ago

Not a big fan of pickleball...I'm an oddity I guess; I am a big fan of making better use of Mercerdale Park...doing something with the Recycling Center that is sitting there. I agree with the person below re converting the Recycling Center into a multipurpose all weather event and exercise space and/or converting to a small outdoor amphitheater for summer concerts. Including storage and bathrooms for the the Farmers Market would be a big plus as well.

C G over 1 year ago

I strongly support converting all Luther Burbank tennis courts to Pickle Ball. Four Pickle Ball courts can be made from one tennis court. Converting the three tennis courts at Luther Burbank to pickle ball would yield 12 Pickle courts. Although I am a tennis player and the MIHS girls tennis coach, I am a big fan of Pickle Ball. It is a more accessible sport - easier to learn, lower cost and can be played at a much older age than tennis. I recommend permanently lining the Luther Burbank tennis courts and installing permanent nets for Pickle rather than taping for safety. There will still be plenty of outdoor tennis courts available to the public on MI including the LID, Homestead, MIHS, Island Crest, and Secret Park.

Carol G over 1 year ago