Exploration Park

A rendering of Exploration ParkUpdate as of April 10, 2019
Construction on Exploration Park in Mill Creek’s North Pointe neighborhood is slated to begin Monday, April 15. The work will be conducted during day-time hours (7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) five days per week.

There are two significant impacts. First, the park will be entirely closed to the public, and the construction site will be fenced. Second, during daytime hours construction vehicles are anticipated to take up to 50% of the legal parking space adjacent to the site.

People can expect general construction noise, including large trucks backing up and excavators.

The goal is to complete the project in October or early November.

Background
The Mill Creek City Council unanimously approved a contract for construction of the park at its Dec. 11, 2018, meeting.

The project originally was advertised in April 2018 and received bids exceeding the engineer’s estimate and the project construction budget. The City Council rejected the bids and directed staff to break the project into four sections for “á la carte” pricing. The project was advertised again on Nov. 6 and five bids were received.

The lowest responsible bid was McClure and Sons Inc., a Mill Creek contractor. The work as approved by the City Council will cost $1,024,945. With construction management fees and a contingency, the total project cost is estimated at $1,253,939.

The work on Exploration Park includes grading, drainage and irrigation work. The park will feature elements of the natural play theme desired by the community, including a beaver den/cave, rock scramble, parkour play structure, balance beam, balance steppers, basket swing and play logs. It also will include picnic tables and bike racks. Concrete walking paths and entrances to the park will meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Construction is expected to take 100 working days. It will begin in the spring when temperatures are warmer and more conducive for grading and excavation.

Parking
The park serves the 225 homes in the North Pointe neighborhood that have their own parking.
It also is within walking and biking distance of several other neighborhoods without parks of their own. Twenty-two parking spaces are provided on North Pointe Circle around the perimeter of the park.  One parking stall is ADA compliant and there is ADA access from the street to the park. No additional parking is planned because the intent of this park is to be a neighborhood park.

Drainage
An image of the existing park in the North Pointe neighborhoodThe work on Exploration Park includes grading, drainage and irrigation work. The park is underlain with dense fill that has limited permeability. As a result rain that falls on the park does not soak into the ground, but instead stays near the surface until it evaporates, resulting in the excessively soggy grass situation. The existing drainage issue diminishes the value of the park to the people it is intended to serve. Therefore, to make the park the asset it is intended to be, the drainage needs to be addressed. The drainage is the most expensive element of the project.

Restrooms
No restrooms were included in the design of this park to help underscore the “neighborhood” aspect of this park and reduce the amount of traffic and people from outside of Mill Creek wanting to use the park. The cost of building a restroom structure, along with sewer and utilities infrastructure development, would add approximately another $1 million to the project, in addition to the additional maintenance and service time to clean the restrooms daily.

Cost
The work as approved by the City Council will cost $1,024,945. With construction management fees and a contingency, the total project cost is estimated at $1,253,939.

The project comprises three elements.

  • The basic field upgrade includes grading, drainage, irrigation, plating, picnic tables, internal pathways, bike racks and perimeter ADA compliance. This element costs $655,000.

  • The hillside play element is the natural play theme selected by the community, including hillside plantings, as well as the nature play, beaver den/cave and circulation features. This element costs $370,000.

  • The playground element includes a parkour play structure, balance beam, balance steppers, basket swing and play logs. This element costs $255,000 and has been offset by a $100,000 Snohomish County grant for development of a playground structure.
The park improvements are funded through dedicated neighborhood park mitigation fees. Park mitigation fees are one-time charges assessed by local governments against a new development project to help pay for new or expanded public facilities that will directly address the increased demand created by that development. The funds can only be used for the acquisition and/or development of parks.

Background
In 2006, the circular 1.2 acre park in the North Pointe neighborhood located just west of 35th Avenue SE was dedicated to the City. Interim park improvements were constructed consisting of lawn, perimeter landscape beds and street trees. Beginning in April of 2016, the Parks and Recreation Board, with the assistance of the Design Review Board, developed four design concept alternatives for the final development of the park for public review and input.

Several hundred citizens provided public input on the alternatives at the Mill Creek Festival and two open houses held at the park in July and August of 2016. The clear public preference was the natural play park concept, which City Council formally adopted at their September 27, 2016, regular meeting.

Broad community input was solicited to obtain name suggestions for consideration, including a City web-based survey and surveys at the Mill Creek Festival and Art Walks in summer 2017. In total, 75 name submissions were received. In December 2017, the Council named it Exploration Park.

The project was advertised in April 2018 and received bids exceeding the engineer’s estimate and the project construction budget. In July 2018, the City Council voted to defer construction to obtain cost savings.