After years of not enough parking, the Arboretum Community Center, Lake Wilderness Park and the Disc Golf Course will have a new parking lot to utilize.
Parks and Recreation Director Dave Johnson said the city allocated $350,000 for a 115 stall parking lot project during the recent legislative session in Olympia. The state awarded the department $200,000.
As for the other $135,000, the monies will come from a previously allocated parks budget for this specific project, according to City Engineer Bill Bullock.
This is phase two of the original parking lot construction plan the city made a few years back. For Bollock, this is the last piece to the puzzle that will provide community members good, solid access to the park and arboretum.
“Right now, people who access and use the arboretum usually go to the gravel driveway, parallel to that main lodge road. That’s going to be closed and access only for park maintenance. And then that’s what this new parking lot is meant to replace and improve on. They’ll have paved surfaces, probably about twice as many parking spaces created by this area,” Bullock said.
The parking lot will be located at the entrance to Lake Wilderness Park that is closest to the golf course, Bullock explained. The new lot will be on the road that leads into the park, and the new lot will be on both sides of the street.
While the new parking is meant primarily for access at the arboretum, it can also act as overflow parking for either the disc golf course or Lake Wilderness Park.
The other great aspect of this new parking lot according to Bullock is it might alleviate some of the parking troubles people experience during big events like Maple Valley Days.
He said even if the new parking lot doesn’t completely eliminate the parking overflow issues, it will certainly alleviate them.
Johnson said the construction on the project won’t begin until after the Fourth of July, so unfortunately community members won’t see any parking relief for that event. While construction is going on, which Bullock estimates will begin between July 8 and July 15, community members will still have access to the park from that main entrance.
“For right now, as I understand it, all the construction going on people will still be able to access the arboretum as they have in the past. So we’re not going to close that until we have a parking lot we can put them in. So arboretum and entrance to the lodge will all be open,” Bullock said. “The entrance to the lodge may have some construction traffic control going on, but for the most part, this project is offsite to what people’s normally use are.”
The estimated completion of this project is for the middle of August.
According to Johnson, the city has talked to a number of community members who use the Arboretum, disc golf course and members of the community in general. So far, they have had positive feedback.
A lot of the comments have been along the lines of “finally” or “Oh, that will be great.”
“Lake Wilderness Park is such a beautiful setting here in the community. The Lake Wilderness Arboretum is wonderful, the Lodge is always bustling with activities, and we have the most popular Disc Golf Course in the state. Anybody that’s been here on any sunny day, or at Maple Valley Days or the Fourth of July event will tell you that parking is an issue,” Johnson said. “It’s a nice problem to have because that means the people are enjoying the park and it’s a great place to play, but it’s a problem needs to be addressed. During the budget process, this project was identified as a priority to be able to accommodate more users in the in a safe manner.”