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II.  Park and Recreation Demand and Need

A.  Park and Recreation Demand

The Snohomish County Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks) evaluates demand for recreation based upon population projections (number, demographics and other trends), level-of-service standards, interests expressed by stakeholders/public, policy identified priorities and priorities identified by staff. Several tools are utilized to complete this evaluation including: population projections provided by the Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM), county adopted population distribution allocations, applicable policy review, staff evaluation, level-of-service evaluation and stakeholder/public input obtained through meetings, surveys and solicitation of input.

Current stakeholder/public recreation interests are summarized in the Snohomish County Park and Recreation Visioning Plan (PRVP), which addresses the Washington State Administrative Code (WAC) recommendation that development of park and recreation elements utilize a visioning process to engage the public in development of the element. The PRVP is updated at least every six years and provides the opportunity to identify current stakeholder/public interests, refine priorities and identify budgeting to address those priorities.

Snohomish County has, in recent years, experienced significant population growth. This new population creates the need for additional parks of all types and attention to park elements which meet emerging needs (e.g. accessible facilities for aging populations). The basis for population planning utilized in this Snohomish County Park and Recreation Element (Park Element) is provided by the OFM for 2035 and agreed upon allocations of this population between cities/towns and Snohomish County. Total population projected for 2035 is expected to increase by 238,281 individuals from 2011 population. Planned distribution of this population between jurisdictions is provided within the Snohomish County Capital Facilities Plan (CFP).

The current estimated population for unincorporated Snohomish County, provided by OFM in 2013, is 312,500. This figure is lower than prior projections for this period and reflect a state-wide reduction in growth seen in recent years. Rates of change in population have been fluctuating however and recent growth in the economy may lead to increased rates of growth. Two major updates to this document are expected to occur prior to 2035, and future Park Elements will consider realized growth rates and updated growth projections.

Further adjustments to future Park Elements may occur as cities and/or towns incorporate Urban Growth Areas (UGAs). Over the last several years, the Cities of Marysville and Lake Stevens have both expanded their boundaries and assumed population groups that previously had been allocated to the county. Further incorporation efforts by other cities have been discussed and changes to populations served by the county may occur. Because city/town boundary expansions are uncertain, future transfer of population to cities/towns have not been assumed in this document and document updates will occur if incorporation actions significantly affect the conclusions of this Park Element.

In addition to increased population, changing population demographics are of interest in park planning so that facilities can be provided to meet the needs of county residents. Of particular interest is the trend in age demographics, which indicate that the Snohomish County population is increasing in senior proportion and the proportion of children under age 18 is decreasing. This trend has been emerging since the 1970s and projections to 2025, estimate that 24.8% of Snohomish County population will be sixty or older at that time (Snohomish County Area Agency on Aging, 2011). This figure applies to Snohomish County as a whole, including incorporated and unincorporated areas. Age demographics from 1970, 1990 and 2010 census data are shown below.

Table 2.  Snohomish County Age Demographics

Birth-17/19*

18/20*-24

25-44

45-64

65+

1970

41%*

7.4%*

26.2%

18%

7.4%

1990

27.7%

8.8%

36.6%

17.4%

9.5%

2010

24.4%

8.8%

28.6%

27.9%

10.3%

*1970 age groupings were 0-19 and 20-24

Note that the percentage of youth reported under the age of 18 in 1970 is elevated, as census figures for that year included individuals through age 19. The next reporting group (18-24) is lower for the same year as calculations for the figure started at age 20, not 18 in 1970.

In addition to expecting an aging population, statistics also show a trend in increased obesity in Snohomish County. As reported by the Snohomish Health District, the proportion of obese adults in Snohomish County increased from 13% in 1993 to 24% in 2004 (Snohomish Health District, 2007) and increased again in 2009 to 28.8% (Snohomish Health District, 2010).

Another health trend of concern is the amount of physical activity both youth and adults engage in in any given week. At the low end of physical activity tracking, an average of 34.3% of 8th, 10th and 12th graders reported participating in moderate physical activity for 30 minutes, five days a week in 2008 (Snohomish Health District, 2011). Adults reported slightly higher adherence to this standard at 39.4% (Snohomish Health District, 2007). The new physical activity guideline used for children currently is one hour of activity, which causes increased heart rate, every day. Within Snohomish County, an average of 22.9% of surveyed 6th, 8th, 10th or 12th graders met this standard (Snohomish Health District, 2011). While this number is up from previous sampling in 2008, it means that less than 1 in 4 youth are meeting this standard for healthy activity levels.

This Park Element provides a new level-of-service (LOS) methodology that addresses provision of recreation facilities, regardless of the classification of park at which they are provided. This method is based upon the quantity of these facilities per measure of population and are grouped into ‘active’ and ‘passive’ facilities, miles of Regional Trail, miles of waterfront, number of campsites and number of parking spaces. Because this approach considers provision of facilities to serve population (i.e. the more facilities provided, the more population served) this approach is termed ‘capacity.’ This approach to LOS is widely used by recreation providers and is the basis of standards provided by the National Recreation and Park Association. Parks current LOS, as provided across the whole system, by this method is indicated in the table below.

Table 3.  2013 Capacity Based Level-of-Service

Summary Capacity Measures

Unit Measure

Population Per Unit: 2013

Active Recreation Facilities

Number

3,064

Passive Recreation Facilities

Number

3,238

Regional Trail

Open Miles

8,562

Waterfront

Mile

6,708

Campsites

Number

992

Parking Spaces

Number

107

Under this methodology, ‘active’ facilities are considered to be: ballfields, sport courts, playgrounds, skate parks, boat launches, mountain biking skills courses, equestrian facilities, racetracks and swimming pools. ‘Passive’ facilities are considered to be: shelters, off-leash dog areas, miles of walking trails (in a park), community gardens and amphitheaters. Grouping recreation facilities together in this way (i.e. ‘active’ and ‘passive’) provides flexibility in how meeting LOS standards is accomplished. For example, when providing additional ‘active’ facilities to serve population growth, the community that will be served by the facility can identify if additional playgrounds or ballfields is more important to their recreational needs.

In order to continue to meet the current LOS for future anticipated population, it is estimated that the following additional facilities would need to be provided:

Table 4.  Future Facilities Needed by 2035 - Capacity LOS

Summary Capacity Measures

Unit Measure

Population Per Unit: 2013

Needed Units to Meet Demand: 2035

Active Recreation Facilities

Number

3,064

21

Passive Recreation Facilities

Number

3,238

20

Regional Trail

Open Miles

8,562

7

Waterfront

Mile

6,708

9

Campsites

Number

992

64

Parking Spaces

Number

107

592

The above ‘Needed Units’ numbers reflect population growth that Snohomish County is planning to serve by 2035. If future facilities are provided at this level, it would continue Parks’ current LOS, as calculated across all facilities provided by Parks. This value reflects a past history of park provision that may be difficult to sustain into the future. These numbers may be adopted as a ‘target’ LOS, but a minimum LOS will be utilized to reflect expectations of what can actually be provided. Waterfront miles, for example, reflect past significant acquisition efforts that occurred in the 1990’s within the Snohomish River Estuary. Acquisition of an additional 9 to 14 miles of waterfront may be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve by 2035. In addition, designation of Neighborhood Parks, Community Parks, Regional Parks and Regional Trails as park classifications ‘necessary to support development’ will prioritize future facility provision to maintain standards within those parks. Parks current LOS, as provided only within Neighborhood Parks, Community Parks, Regional Parks and Regional Trails is identified in the table below.

Table 5.  2013 Capacity Based Level-of-Service for Neighborhood, Community and Regional Parks and Regional Trails

Summary Capacity Measures

Unit Measure

Population Per Unit: 2013

Active Recreation Facilities

Number

3,094

Passive Recreation Facilities

Number

3,382

Regional Trail

Open Miles

8,562

Waterfront

Mile

9,935

Campsites

Number

992

Parking Spaces

Number

114

For the reasons mentioned above and also in order to provide some initial buffer in meeting LOS standards, the following is the minimum LOS standard for park provision within the Neighborhood, Community and Regional Parks and Regional Trails classifications:

Table 6.  Minimum Level of Service Standards for Neighborhood, Community and Regional Parks and Regional Trails and Anticipated Number of Future Facilities Needed by 2035

Summary Capacity Measures

Unit Measure

Minimum LOS Standard

Needed Units to Meet Demand: 2035

Net Unincorporated Growth 2013 - 2035

63,338

Active Recreation Facilities

Number

3,250

15

Passive Recreation Facilities

Number

3,650

11

Regional Trail

Open Miles

8,750

6

Waterfront

Mile

11,500

1

Campsites

Number

1,050

43

Parking Spaces

Number

120

393

Locating new facilities which are provided to meet adopted LOS standards can and should occur within currently owned park facilities as much as possible. Public interest in utilization of existing facilities is strong and many parks have the capacity for additional facilities to serve population. Esperance Park, for example, which is located within the southwest county UGA, could support increased use through provision of off-street parking and inclusion of additional facilities such as a shelter. Identification of LOS-based improvement projects will be identified by Parks staff and stakeholders and included in the annual CIP for review and approval through the CIP process.

Acquiring new facilities to support LOS standards is expected to be needed and property acquisition will be based on a number of factors outlined in the acquisition section of this document as well as a needs analysis which considers recreation facilities provided by Parks as well as cities and towns. There is strong interest in locating facilities in proximity to population and minimizing the distance from communities to parks. A mapping review of distance from currently available (developed) Neighborhood, Community and Regional Parks and Regional Trails is included in Appendix C and also considers facilities provided by cities and towns. This analysis has identified a number of UGA areas that are greater from 1 mile from a county or city/town facility. Specific areas identified are:

North Stanwood (Note: A portion of this area is proposed for UGA removal)

South Lake Stevens

North of the City of Snohomish

East Everett

North Mill Creek

South Mukilteo/North Lynnwood

North Monroe

North Sultan (Note: A portion of this area is proposed for UGA removal)

Northeast Bothell

Northwest Bothell

Maltby UGA (Note: Planned development of Wellington Hills Park will serve a portion of this area

Gold Bar

The majority of these areas represent a relatively small geographic foot print, with the exception of the northeast Mill Creek area, which represents approximately 1,500 acres. As acquisitions are considered, locating facilities to minimize distances from those facilities to the population to be served will be considered.

Parks has previously operated under a LOS methodology that provided minimum standards for facilities classified as Community Parks, as this was the only classification identified by Snohomish County as ‘necessary to support development.’ This Park Element provides a new LOS methodology and expands park classifications designated as ‘necessary to support development’ to include Neighborhood Parks, Regional Parks and Regional Trails (in addition to Community Parks). Although all park classifications provided by Parks serve new population, these classifications have been specifically identified as the facilities that are most directly connected to new population. Neighborhood Parks are, by definition, urban facilities and are located in proximity to areas that are targeted for growth. Community Parks function in much the same way, although some parks classified as ‘Community’ may be located in rural areas and not in the immediate proximity of growth. When Community Parks are located in rural areas, they include some type of feature that users typically travel for (e.g. Lake Goodwin Community Park with lake access), and in this way serve new population. Regional Parks and Trails contain features that draw users from across the county and are highly valued by Snohomish County residents. Parks’ two remaining classifications, Open Space/Preserve and Special Use Facilities also provide service to new residents, but because of the specialized nature of Special Use Facilities and limited recreational access to Open Space/Preserve properties, designation of these two classifications as ‘necessary to support development’ is not included at this time.

Linking population growth to the demand for new facilities is not a new concept and the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) has provided guidelines for individual facilities which is based on population being served (e.g. one volleyball court per 5,000 residents) (National Recreation and Park Association, 1983). This approach has a long history for use in identifying the need for recreation facilities and the Playground Association of America (formed in 1906) established some of the first population based guidelines in response to increased population and urbanization. This identification of the need for additional recreation facilities based on number of population/users is nicely summarized by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition which states:

“Outdoor recreation is the way that we experience nature. When we hike, hunt, swim and fish we connect with nature in ways unavailable to us day to day. As our state’s population has increased, so has demand for ball parks, trails, water-access sites and other recreation resources (Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition).”

Long term trends in recreation and stakeholder/public interests can be determined by evaluating patterns in local public interest surveys and by reviewing public interest surveys conducted by other jurisdictions. The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) periodically publishes a statewide outdoor recreation survey. The latest survey was released in 2006 and includes rates of participation in various outdoor activities (Clearwater Research, Inc., 2006). The 2006 RCO findings are as follows:

Table 7.  2006 RCO Recreation Findings

Ranking of Major Activity Areas by Average Month Participation

Walking/Hiking

73.8%

Team/Individual Sports, Physical Activity

69.2%

Nature Activity

53.9%

Picnicking

46.8%

Indoor Community Facility Activity

45.1%

Water Activity

36.0%

Sightseeing

35.4%

Bicycle Riding

30.9%

Off-road Vehicle Riding

17.9%

Snow/Ice Activity

17.5%

Camping

17.1%

Fishing

15.2%

Hunting/Shooting

7.3%

Equestrian Activity

4.3%

Air Activity

4.0%

In addition to this information, the RCO report also noted that:

“The most frequently mentioned activities that Washingtonians wanted to do more of in the 12 months following the survey interview included sightseeing (46.9%), picnicking or cooking outdoors (39.4%), hiking (33.5%), tent camping with a car or motorcycle (33.4%), and swimming or wading at a beach (28.4%).”

These findings were collected state-wide and include respondents from both city and unincorporated jurisdictions.

Parks has issued public interest surveys in support of planning efforts for several decades and has used a similar format for the last 10 years. These surveys have asked for input into the recreation activities that the public wants Parks to focus their efforts and asked for prioritization of the following categories:

Water access, such as motor boating, kayaking, beach access, fishing and swimming pools

Trails, such as hiking, walking and horseback riding

Sports facilities, such as baseball and soccer fields

Conservation and wildlife areas, such as viewing locations, interpretive trails and protected areas

Leisure, such as picnic areas, camping and viewpoints

Special use facilities, such as golf courses, fairgrounds and civic centers

The responses are as follows:

Table 8.  Park Public Interest Survey Results

Recreation Category

2011 Average Ranking (lower number indicates higher preference for category)

2007 Recreation Interests (higher % indicates higher preference for category)

2001 Recreation Interests (higher %indicates higher preference for category)

Total Average Rank (lower number indicates highest rank)

Response

Rank

Response

Rank

Response

Rank

Trails

2.26

1

27.2%

1

24.7%

1

1

Conservation and wildlife areas

3.15

4

23.7%

2

21.6%

2

2.7

Leisure

2.87

2

18.5%

3

14.8%

5

3.3

Water access

2.99

3

14.6%

4

17.7%

3

3.3

Sports facilities

4.25

5

10.7%

5

16.1%

4

4.7

Special use facilities

4.69

6

5.3%

6

5.1%

6

6

Local survey results and RCO survey results are not directly comparable as the RCO asked for information on recreation activities that respondents spent their time participating in while Parks’ survey asked for input into recreation categories that the public wanted the Department to focus its resources.

The following general observations may be made from this information however:

Trail interest and use are high and represent both the highest participation rate as well as interest in future provision of trail facilities.

Interest in leisure facilities has been rising over the last 10 years and RCO identified specifically that the public had interest in spending more time pursuing leisure-type activities (as categorized by Parks).

Interest in conservation facilities has decreased, although participation in ‘nature activity’ ranked relatively high in the RCO study (53.9%). It is possible that previous high prioritization of this category in Park surveys reflected Endangered Species Act listings and associated awareness, although the cause of this change is not known.

Interest in water access remains steady and relatively high (top 4). The RCO findings indicate that 36.0% of respondents participate in water activities, although other categories used by the RCO, such as nature activity, may also fall under this category, as defined by Parks.

Interest in sports facilities has ranked consistently low in Parks’ surveys, although RCO found ‘team/individual sports, physical activity’ received the second highest rate of participation.

Interest in special use facilities ranks consistently low, which is reflective of the smaller proportion of residents that typically use these facilities as well as the specialty nature of these features.

In addition to prioritization of recreation facilities, Parks’ 2011 survey asked respondents to answer a number of questions addressing such things as satisfaction with the condition of park facilities, satisfaction with the availability of facilities, more detailed prioritization of facilities within the categories defined above, feedback on methods of funding for parks and any open ended comments that they wished to share. The full results of this survey and findings from stakeholder/public meetings as well as comments submitted to Parks are located in the PRVP. Major findings from this process are:

There are a wide variety of recreational interests represented in the county.

Trails are extremely popular and continuing to provide trail opportunities should be a priority. There is significant interest in opening the Whitehorse Trail.

The Centennial Trail in particular is extremely popular and suggestions for improvement should be reviewed for feasibility.

Focus on leisure facilities should be a priority, in particular picnic areas, camping, playgrounds and off-leash areas.

Water access continues to be a priority and opportunities for expanded access should be pursued. Saltwater access in particular is limited in the county and opportunities for acquisition should be explored.

The comment was made repeatedly that the county should focus on maintaining existing facilities rather than developing new sites.

Equestrian facilities are very popular in Snohomish County and there is significant interest in maintaining/expanding opportunities.

Response to questions about funding parks drew polar opposite feedback. Special funding for parks is a sensitive issue and needs to be considered carefully before making changes to the current structure.

Many citizens do not have a clear understanding of who Snohomish County Parks is, which parks are owned and managed by the county, and what programs the county provides. Parks could do a better job of identifying facilities that are offered through the county.

There was significant interest in the Evergreen State Fairgrounds and improvements to it.

There was significant interest in development of the shooting range outside of Sultan.

The policy basis for provision of county park facilities is founded on the Multicounty Planning Policies (MPP), which informs and guides the Countywide Planning Policies (CPP), which in turn informs and guides the Snohomish County General Planning Policies (GPP). As a policy document, the GPP provides guidance for many operational aspects of providing parks, but also identifies priorities for acquisition and development of some park facilities.

In addition to the demands identified through the methods described above, Parks staff has identified additional priorities for park facility provision. Some of the following are uncompleted projects carried forward from the 2007 Snohomish County Comprehensive Park and Recreation Plan, and some are projects that have been expressed to staff by stakeholders outside of the PRVP development process so were not captured in that document.

Additional park facility demands identified by Parks staff are:

RECREATION AREASDue to the continued urbanization of Snohomish County and the economic benefits that parks bring to communities, an idea has emerged to develop ‘Recreation Areas’ that concentrate recreation amenities for user benefit, operational efficiencies and economic development. The GPP notes that “Snohomish County shall support ventures in resource tourism and outdoor recreation that are financially viable and environmentally responsible” (ED 6.B.2). The identification and promotion of Recreation Areas support this policy. Five Recreation Areas are envisioned at this time: the Sky Valley Recreation Corridor (defined by Hwy 2 and stretching from the City of Snohomish to the county border), the Snohomish River Estuary Recreation Area (estuary area between the Cities of Everett and Marysville), the Seven Lakes Recreation Area (west of I-5 between the Stillaguamish River to the north and the Tulalip Reservation to the south), the Whitehorse Recreation Corridor (defined by the Whitehorse Trail stretching from the City of Arlington to the Town of Darrington) and the Southwest County Recreation Area (that area contained within the southwest county UGA).

These five areas have been identified as already containing significant recreational resources and as having opportunities for enhanced user experiences. For example, within the Seven Lakes Recreation Area, Parks already has the following developed facilities: Gissberg Twin Lakes Park (fishing, swimming and casual trail use), Wenberg Park (camping, boat launch, swimming and other day use), Lake Goodwin Park (swimming and day use) and Kayak Point Park and Golf Course (golf course, camping, boat launch, saltwater access, day use). In addition to these facilities, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) operates six boat launches in the area and Parks has three large, undeveloped landholdings, which includes undeveloped land at Kayak Point. Development and promotion of this recreation area would benefit users by clustering recreational activities so that when camping, for example, visitors would have the opportunity to enjoy a lake experience, saltwater experience and, following further development, possible hiking and/or mountain biking opportunities. This type of development also provides benefits to Parks by clustering staff and maintenance resources into a smaller area, thereby limiting travel time and staff duplications. The Seven Lakes Recreation Area has the added benefit of being located adjacent to I-5, so that access is convenient for the park visitor.

The Sky Valley Recreation Corridor is currently envisioned to stretch east along Hwy 2 from the City of Snohomish to the county line. Within this area, Parks operates the Evergreen State Fairgrounds and plans to develop three new facilities, currently referred to as Steelhead County Park, Reiter Foothills and the Sky Valley Sportman’s Park. Significant holdings are operated by other providers within this area and include State Parks (Wallace Falls), Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and United States Forest Service properties. This area has enormous potential to draw visitors from the Seattle area as it is within easy access by car and offers significant opportunities for hiking, off-road vehicles and others. Significant portions of this area have also been identified on the Snohomish County Growth Management Act (GMA) Comprehensive Plan Open Space Corridors and Green Belt Areas map as agricultural, forest or wilderness areas, and therefore have important open space value. Incorporating recreation into this area fits into the goals of open space designated areas and capitalizes on the scenic benefits present in this area. The Evergreen State Fairgrounds would be a key component of this Recreation Area. The site is located on Hwy 2, providing a convenient jumping off place for the Skykomish Valley. The property includes 96 recreational vehicle camping sites in addition to all the other amenities to the site.

The Snohomish River Estuary is located between the Cities of Everett and Marysville. Totaling approximately 19.5 square miles, approximately 4,000 acres of this area is in public ownership (roughly 32%). Snohomish County owns approximately 1,800 acres (including land under the custody of the Surface Water Management division of Public Works). WDFW owns approximately 1,400 acres and other public land holders in the estuary include the Port of Everett, the City of Everett and the City of Marysville. The Tulalip Tribes are an additional large land holder in the estuary. The estuary is a rich recreational area which provides opportunities for hiking, kayaking, bird watching and hunting. The proximity of this large area to significant population centers offers enormous potential for public use, enjoyment and appreciation. Full development of this recreational area will require coordination with the various land owners and development of a recreation plan.

The Whitehorse Recreation Corridor is defined by the Whitehorse Trail, which stretches from the City of Arlington to the Town of Darrington and links to the Centennial Trail at its western terminus. Currently, approximately seven miles of this trail are open adjacent to the Town of Darrington. Development of the remainder of this corridor is a priority and it is envisioned that the trail will provide mixed use access and may include camping opportunities at some of the trailheads. This area is defined by the trail and the north fork of the Stillaguamish River; the two cross multiple times along the alignment. In addition, the Whitehorse Recreation Corridor also includes significant equestrian opportunities and is sure to be popular with the horse community.

The Southwest County Recreation Area is defined as that area designated as the ‘Southwest County Urban Growth Area’ in the CPP. This area includes the Cities of Everett, Mukilteo, Mill Creek, Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Brier and the Town of Woodway, as well as areas of unincorporated UGA. Within this area, the county currently owns thirty-four park properties, which range from the portion of the Interurban Trail operated by Snohomish County, to Meadowdale Regional Park, to open space tracts within the boundaries of the City of Bothell. In addition to these county holdings, significant recreation opportunities are provided by cities and school districts. Planning for the Southwest County Recreation Area will require coordination with all recreation providers in the area and has the potential to create an integrated system of parks which offers recreation opportunities greater than that provided by any one single provider.

Promotion and development within these five Recreation Areas has the potential to provide enormous benefits to Snohomish County residents through recreational activity enhancement as well as economic benefits from tourism. Development of Recreation Area plans would identify priorities for enhancement as well as opportunities for collaboration within these areas.

AQUATIC FACILITYPublic interest in an aquatic facility has been an on-going topic of discussion and Parks has been aware of the need for a regional facility, primarily through conversation with other providers. Within Snohomish County, four year-round community recreational public pools are provided by: the Snohomish School District and the Cities of Everett, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace. Two summer facilities are provided by the City of Edmonds and Parks (McCollum Pool). Two semi-public pools are available through high schools in Lake Stevens and Marysville. Programming however at these facilities is limited and does not provide full community access.

In 1990 the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) published a recommendation for the number of public pools needed in United States communities, based on population: one pool for every 20,000 citizens (National Recreation and Park Association, 1983). Although this never became a national standard (due to variables such as other providers, area income levels, different types of pools, and desired programming by various age groups), data was collected documenting the number of public pools from various cities across the United States and in Washington State. From these cities it was found that on average, the United States has approximately one public pool for every 45,570 people.

There are several different classes of pools, which should be considered when evaluating level-of-service for pool facilities. The pool classes are generally:

Leisure/recreation – Includes the widest array of facility options that include zero-depth entry, water slides, eating areas, decks, and play apparatus. These facilities are often combined with amenities like concessions and group activity areas.

Instructional & fitness –Includes learn-to-swim and lifesaving programs, fitness classes and lap swimming. Requires deeper (four to five feet) water and generous deck space for instruction.

Therapy and rehabilitation – Often offered by medical organizations and requires warm shallow water.

Competitive swimming – Requires specific lengths of 25 to 50 meters, depth of five to seven feet, eight to ten lanes (each eight to ten feet wide), and spectator seating.

Competitive diving – Requires one and three-meter diving boards, with optional platform diving for national and international events. May require separate, deep water, 13-foot minimum tank.

Team competitions – Includes competitive water polo and synchronized swimming. Requires a minimum pool depth of seven feet and large pool area. Can use competition pool if deep enough.

Special events/rentals – Separate areas of facilities used in conjunction with the aquatic facilities for birthday parties, corporate events and community gatherings.

Social/Relaxation – Can be picnic areas or landscaped areas, but are generally non-aquatic spaces that serve to integrate social and aquatic activities. Most often associated with leisure/recreation function above.

Population estimates for Snohomish County in 2013 place total population (unincorporated and incorporated together) at approximately 745,913. Given the number of public semi-leisure/recreation pools available, this equates to a service level of one pool per 93,239 individuals. There are additional pools available within the county, primarily provided by clubs or the YMCA, but because of their smaller size and requirement for membership, these “instructional & fitness” type facilities do not address the recommended level-of-service.

In addition to the deficiency in leisure/recreation type public pools identified by NRPA’s recommendation, there is an even greater need for a competitive swimming, diving and team competition facility. Currently the only facility which completely meets this need is available in King County. North of King County and south of the Canadian border, no competition level (eight to ten lane, 50-meter) pools are available.

Competitive swimming is a popular recreational activity in our area and five clubs are active in Snohomish County. A competitive aquatics facility would serve these swimmers, allow for expansion of the sport and bring revenue to the area during competitive events. Providing a facility such as this would fit Parks’ role as a regional facility provider.

A preliminary study has been conducted to analyze the need and market for a regional aquatic center. The analysis of the Snohomish County market indicated the following-

The primary (Snohomish County) and secondary (Skagit and Whatcom Counties) service area for a regional, fully competitive aquatic facility has a population of nearly 1,055,000.

While there are six indoor and two outdoor public pools within the Snohomish County service area, many of these facilities are older and reaching the end of their lifespan (estimated to be up to three of the total).

It is anticipated that during the course of the next five years, there will be a net loss of at least two aquatic facilities.

Most school districts do not have their own pools and must use other indoor and outdoor pools in the area

The only true indoor competitive pool able to host regional events is the King County Aquatic Center and it is not located within the service area of Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom Counties.

All but one of the existing pools are conventional facilities with no leisure amenities - the recreational swimming market is only served by one facility at the time of the study [Note that the Lynnwood Recreation Center has completed its aquatic facility upgrades since this study and now includes leisure amenities].

Interviews with Snohomish County aquatic teams indicate that they have to limit team size and practice due to the lack of facilities - many teams have to use multiple facilities to serve their needs.

With the lack of pool times, many aquatic teams are unable to provide services to meet demand.

With an understanding of the current aquatic facilities, their program and capacity limitations, and realizing that the situation will only get worse in the coming years, a regional, fully competitive, multi-aquatic sport venue is crucial to support the area’s swimming needs.

REGIONAL ATHLETIC FACILITYDuring development of the 2007 Comprehensive Park and Recreation Plan (Comprehensive Plan), the message was heard repeatedly that Snohomish County sports league providers desired a regional athletic complex. Currently it is very common for softball, baseball, football, lacrosse and soccer leagues to travel outside of the county to participate in tournament events. Leagues travel to the City of Burlington facility (Skagit County), or may go even farther to participate in large scale competition.

Providing a local, regional athletic complex offers opportunities to the county. As an initial opportunity, establishing a regional athletic complex in Snohomish County helps support a recreation program that serves a significant number of county residents. From an economic standpoint, a facility of this type has the potential to bring significant revenue to the local economy. Participants traveling large distances require food and lodging and may participate in other activities during their visit to the area. Revenue for the facility itself may also be generated and can help offset operating costs through rental fees charged to use the site.

To provide an effective regional athletic complex, the site needs to be of sufficient size to allow for a minimum of 12 games to be held at the same time and be designed for extended play. To meet these needs, the identified site should allow room for fields, parking and support facilities (restrooms and concessions) and, if feasible, include artificial turf and lighting. Finding an appropriate location and funding this type of facility requires significant resources and may best be approached from a partnership position.

SUSTAINABLE OPERATIONS ACTION PLAN IMPLEMENTATIONSnohomish County adopted a Sustainable Operations Action Plan (SOAP) in 2013, which “…provides a strategic and systematic approach to integrating environmentally sustainable practices into County government operations” (Snohomish County Office of Energy & Sustainability, 2013). The SOAP is targeted at refining county day-to-day operations in order to reduce environmental impacts and includes a number of goals and objectives for implementation through 2017. Many of the goals and objectives included relate to county procedures, but a number of capital projects may be derived as a means of meeting the goals and objectives contained in the document.

Parks is committed to continued improvements in the sustainability of department actions and is in the unique position to integrate sustainability into services that the public enjoys. Significant strides have been made in recent years to reduce waste, improve efficiencies, increase recycling, address social equity and integrate sustainability into day-to-day actions. The Parks Department works to considers fiscal, environmental and social implications of department actions and many projects included in this Recreation Element are specifically included as a means of promoting sustainability. The SOAP addresses a portion of the efforts that Parks is pursuing and including capital projects to assist in implementing the SOAP should be considered.

The following is a summary of demands identified through the process described above. Where demands derived from different sources are similar, they are grouped together into a single item. Demands are separated into procedural demands, which may result in capital projects when implemented, and demands directly related to a facility need.

Table 9.  Summary of Identified Demands

ID

Basis of Demand

Demand Description

Procedural Demands

PRO.1.

GPP

Provide an integrated system of passive and active parks and open spaces and trails

PRO.2.

GPP

Assist cities and towns in efforts to acquire Neighborhood Parks

PRO.3.

GPP

Acquire and/or develop new parks and park facilities as appropriate, including unique unanticipated acquisition opportunities

PRO.4.

GPP

Manage, protect and enhance natural resources (including forest lands) within Parks inventory, utilizing partnership opportunities

PRO.5.

GPP

Provide and/or support recreation programs

PRO.6.

GPP

Identify culturally and historically significant properties appropriate for inclusion in Parks inventory and provide interpretive opportunities at current parks

PRO.7.

GPP

Incorporate operational efficiencies within existing parks as part of maintenance activities and through consideration of additional efficiencies such as implementation of a naturalization program and/or sustainable operations initiative

PRO.8.

GPP, Staff

Develop Recreation Area plans for the five identified Recreation Areas and improve recreation opportunities within those areas based on individual plan recommendations, as appropriate

Facility Demands

FAC.1.

Level-of-Service Standards; Population Projections, Policy

Develop facilities to meet LOS standards for provision of: active and passive facilities, miles of developed Regional Trails, waterfront miles and campsites and parking spaces to support use of those facilities. Acquire land as needed to meet LOS standards.

FAC.2.

Population Projections

Provide facilities to meet projected county age demographics, with particular focus on facilities to serve aging populations

FAC.3.

Population Demographics

Provide facilities which encourage active recreation and participation in recreation activities

FAC.4.

Stakeholder/Public Interests; Policy

Renovate and/or maintain existing facilities

FAC.5.

Stakeholder/Public Interests; Policy

Provide additional water access, in particular saltwater access

FAC.6.

Stakeholder/Public Interests; Policy

Provide additional trail facilities

FAC.7.

Stakeholder/Public Interests

Provide additional equestrian opportunities

FAC.8.

Stakeholder/Public Interests

Provide additional leisure facilities, with specific emphasis on picnic areas, camping, playgrounds and off-leash areas

FAC.9.

Staff

Provide an aquatic facility

FAC.10.

Staff

Provide a regional athletic facility

FAC.11.

Stakeholder/Public Interests

Develop the Sky Valley Sportsman’s Park

FAC.12.

Stakeholder/Public Interests

Make improvements to the Evergreen State Fairgrounds

FAC.13.

Staff

Implement capital improvements identified in the Sustainable Operations Action Plan, which are applicable to Parks

B.  Park and Recreation Need

The following is a review of demands identified in the first portion of this chapter and an evaluation of needed facilities to address those demands. The first section this analysis considers procedural demands, followed by demands related to specific facilities. Procedural demands are included in this analysis as they may lead to specific facility projects. For each demand listed below, a review of current efforts being taken to meet that demand is provided, followed by an evaluation of further efforts that could, or should, be made.

PRO.1. Provide an Integrated System of Passive and Active Parks and Open Spaces and Trails – Parks seeks to provide a system of facilities that serves the residents of Snohomish County and enhances their quality of life. This system includes a diversity of recreation opportunities, and open spaces, and considers facilities provided by other jurisdictions. Besides Parks, there are several other recreation providers working within Snohomish County. These include the United States Forest Service, Washington State DNR and Parks, as well as services provided by the 20 cities/towns located within the county boundaries. In addition to these government-based recreation providers, a number of other recreation groups provide services, including the YMCA, the Boys & Girls Club and other private providers. The services these various groups provide range in scale from access to large open tracts for camping and hiking (federal and state typically) to local recreation programs and daycare (city and private organizations typically).

When locating new facilities, Parks utilizes a philosophy of ‘right park, right place.’ This means that Parks strives to locate new facilities where they are most needed, that those facilities provide the amenities that are needed for the community being served and that opportunities for synergy and interconnection are taken advantage of whenever possible. When locating new facilities, some general guidelines can be derived:

*Neighborhood and Community Parks should be located as close to anticipated user groups as possible although travel to Community Parks is generally anticipated and a user radius of 5 miles is typical.

*Regional Parks can be located anywhere in the county and should include features that users would consider traveling for.

*Improvements that create connections between facilities are important (e.g. Regional Trails that connect to county and city/town facilities as well as trailheads at major bikeway intersection points).

*Parks should be dispersed to serve different geographic areas of the county.

*Recreational amenities should be clustered and promoted to support destination recreation and tourism opportunities as well as tournament events.

*Siting parks to enhance use of facilities provided by another jurisdiction can be valuable on a case-by-case basis

The demand identified is to provide an integrated system of passive and active parks and open spaces and trails. Parks currently addresses this demand most specifically through implementation of LOS standards as well as the identification and planning for Recreation Areas. LOS implementation considerations seek to distribute recreational amenities throughout the county and in proximity to growing populations. Recreation Areas are identified clusters of recreational amenities that are anticipated to bring users to the area and provide a variety of opportunities to enjoy. Both of these two mechanisms are considered in different needs analysis (FAC.1. and PRO.8., respectively). Other actions taken to address this demand are pursued in a more informal way, and are integrated into consideration of individual park acquisition and development actions.

PRO.2. Assist cities and towns in efforts to acquire Neighborhood Parks– The County has a history of assisting other jurisdictions with park land acquisition and development efforts via pass through funding programs (e.g. the Neighborhood Improvement Program, Regional Recreational Task Force and interlocal agreements), Conservation Futures grant programs and transfer of facilities (e.g. Lundeen Park). Parks within neighborhood areas have been identified in the GPP as important in providing a focus to individual neighborhoods and to encourage the development of neighborhood identities. Neighborhood Parks are typically walk-to facilities and provide recreation opportunities, open space and opportunities to interact with other neighborhood residents, helping to build neighborhood identity. Neighborhood Parks are typically considered an urban amenity and the county does not have a separate LOS for these facilities. Understandably, cities and towns are anxious that the county provide Neighborhood Parks in areas they are ultimately planned to be annexed, in order to ensure that these facilities are available to their residents. However, the county has typically chosen to focus on provision of park facilities that the county is best suited to provide, such as Regional Parks and Trails, Special Use Facilities, Open Space/Preserve properties and Community Parks (although cities and towns also provide Community Parks). The county may acquire and provide new Neighborhood Park sites as opportunities arise, but generally seeks to support cities and towns in providing Neighborhood Parks. Current Neighborhood Parks provided by the county are identified in the Park Inventory Report (PIR). This inventory includes a number of Neighborhood Parks that are not currently open to the public, but are classified as Neighborhood Parks as described in Chapter I.

The demand identified is to assist cities (and towns) in efforts to acquire Neighborhood Parks. There are a number of ways in which this can be continued into the future. Parks can work with individual jurisdictions to identify properties that are suitable to transfer and which help meet Neighborhood Park needs identified by the city or town. Second, where Parks has collected State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) based mitigation funding (see financing discussion for further explanation), which needs to be spent within certain geographic areas and a specific county need has not been identified, transfer of the funding to another jurisdiction through an Interlocal agreement may help support provision of additional Neighborhood Parks. Third, Parks can support city and town applications for grant funding for Neighborhood Parks through letters of support. Fourth, the county can continue distribution of Conservation Futures funding to cities and towns, as funding becomes available, and as recommended by the Conservation Futures Program Advisory Board. Fifth, the County could initiate a new grant program, such as the Neighborhood Improvement Program or Regional Recreation Task Force, to provide and distribute funding.

As specific funding has not been identified to meet this demand, this need analysis is intended as a placeholder, recognizing the demand for additional Neighborhood Park facilities and the interest in supporting cities and towns in meeting this need. As opportunities arise to actively address this demand, Parks will work to evaluate and pursue those opportunities, as appropriate.

PRO.3. Acquire and/or develop new parks and park facilities as appropriate, including unique unanticipated acquisition opportunities– This Park Element is the primary basis for capital projects considered by Parks, including land acquisition. Upon occasion, other county plans identify land acquisition needs that fit within Parks area of expertise and that are unanticipated by this Park Element. Parks may partner with other departments to meet that need. Similarly, unanticipated acquisition and development opportunities often become available and Parks seeks to take advantage of these opportunities. In 2013, Snohomish County issued a bond to provide $25 million dollars for Conservation Futures based acquisitions. This action was based on favorable interest rates and low property values, which provided an opportunity to provide maximum benefit with these dollars. Issuance of the bond was unanticipated prior to 2012 and Parks was able to take advantage of this opportunity and acquire several important properties through this program, including access to a 124 acre park that had previously been land-locked as well as an extension of the Centennial Trail from the City of Snohomish into King County. Similarly, unanticipated mitigation agreements may provide opportunities to provide recreational resources, such as occurred through the Brightwater mitigation agreement with King County.

Identification of specific acquisition and development projects within this Park Element should not be construed as to limit future acquisition and development efforts to only those contained within it. The demand identified is to pursue land acquisition and development projects to meet needs identified in other county plans as well as to evaluate and pursue unique unanticipated opportunities, when appropriate. Pursuit of these opportunities will typically require review and approval through the Snohomish County Council (e.g. land acquisitions, grant applications and allocation of funding to pursue capital projects).

A specific need analysis is not provided with this demand, but this discussion is included as a placeholder to allow Parks to take advantage of unanticipated opportunities, which are considered to benefit the Parks system.

PRO.4. Manage, protect and enhance natural resources (including forest lands) within Parks inventory, utilizing partnership opportunities–Parks has a long history of supporting natural resources and currently stewards over 11,000 acres of parks and open space, much of which is undeveloped. Parks’ inventory includes waterfront (Puget Sound, river, lakes and creeks), forest land, estuary and other habitat spaces. Parks staff provides oversight for these properties and Parks’ Habitat Steward Lead is focused on noxious weed control, restoration projects and ensuring Parks’ stormwater systems are working properly. In addition, Parks staff includes a Senior Park Naturalist who specializes in projects that support habitat improvements.

Parks has partnered with other county departments/divisions as well as non-profit groups such as the Adopt-A-Stream Foundation to complete habitat improvement and enhancement on Park properties. Some major restoration/habitat enhancement projects that have occurred in recent years include: restoration of 412 acres at Spencer Island to estuarine habitat, weed control and native tree/shrub installation at Field’s Riffle, native plant installation adjacent to the north fork of the Stillaguamish along portions of the Whitehorse Trail, native tree installation at Thomas’ Eddy and others.

The demand identified is to manage, protect and enhance natural resources (including forest lands) within Parks inventory, utilizing partnership opportunities.

Implicit to this initiative are the ideas that 1) there is a need to provide management of natural areas provided by Parks, 2) there are opportunities for improvement of these same areas, and 3) providing public access to natural areas promotes understanding and care for these areas on the part of the public.

Management of natural areas is provided by Parks staff currently, both by habitat staff noted above and by other planning, operation and maintenance staff. Strengths of the current program include noxious weed management, maintenance of stormwater systems (and control of potentially associated pollutants) and restoration projects. An area of possible improvement would be in management of forest lands in Parks inventory. Forest stewardship plans have been completed on a number of sites, but actions to more actively manage forest stands have not occurred. Active management is understood to be complicated by public sentiment against tree removal and funding constraints. More concentrated management of forest stands in Parks inventory potentially has the benefits of improved habitat value, improved forest stand health, increased carbon sequestration and better resilience of forest stands to handle stresses. Funding for this work has the potential to be provided through selective tree harvesting, which has the additional benefit of improving forest stand health.

Proposals for restoration on Park managed lands are periodically submitted for consideration. Many times these proposals include funding for the project and are more extensive than is completed by Parks staff. Restoration projects may include structural modifications (e.g. dike removal), vegetation management (e.g. invasive removal and native plantings) and/or other actions such as beach nourishment. Parks considers these proposals on a case-by-case basis and will enter into agreements to allow the work to occur as appropriate.

Lastly, Parks seeks to provide public access to natural areas as much as possible. Parks believes that public access promotes appreciation and understanding of open spaces and provides significant benefits to the park visitors as well. Parks evaluates possibilities for public access on a case-by-case basis and will provide access when it is determined that the site can support public use, where it is safe to provide access and when public access can be supported by operational staff.

This demand is included as a placeholder for projects that may emerge over the lifespan of this document and which may address the identified demand.

PRO.5. Provide and/or support recreation programs–The County may provide a limited role in providing recreation programs, and endorses providing facilities to support programs provided by others, providing programs to fill a specific need, providing programs because the county has a facility that is related to the program (e.g. McCollum pool) and/or providing programs if there is a another specific reason to do so. At this time, Parks provides swimming at McCollum pool and a specialized recreation program, which was started in 2009 to fill an identified need. Parks otherwise seeks to provide facilities that support programs provided by other entities and has partnered with the Adopt-A-Stream Foundation, YMCA and others.

The demand identified was to provide and/or support recreation programs. At this time, no new needs have been identified for consideration, but it is expected that proposals for use of park facilities for program needs will be promoted during the life span of this document. Some proposals may include facility modifications that would require capital improvements by Parks. Some proposals may also include program provision by Parks and some proposals may include a combination of both the above. In all cases, Parks will consider proposals on a case-by-case basis and will implement county policy in determining if the program should be pursued.

PRO.6. Identify culturally and historically significant properties appropriate for inclusion in Parks inventory and provide interpretive opportunities at current parks–Parks’ inventory includes a number of sites which offer historic or cultural interpretive opportunities, either because the site itself has historic or cultural significance or because the site is representative of overall county history or culture. Parks provide a unique opportunity to describe the history of the county due to the geographic distribution of parks, diversity of park types and visitor base. Interpretive signage is one method of making information available across the Parks system, and other methods, such as Quick Response (QR) codes, are beginning to be used. Visitors may come to a park to hike, play sports or picnic, yet still have the opportunity to learn something about the site and its place in the history of the county. Currently, interpretive signage is provided at a number of parks, but a full interpretive program has not been developed and holds enormous potential to provide another facet to the recreation experience that park visitors currently enjoy. Parks periodically partners with the Snohomish County Historic Preservation Commission which “…seeks to identify, preserve and protect significant historic and archaeological properties that celebrates the rich history of Snohomish County” (Snohomish County) and it would be appropriate to consider collaboration on development on a cultural and historical interpretive program centered on Park facilities.

The demand identified was to provide interpretive (cultural and historic) opportunities at county parks, when appropriate and feasible. The full breadth of what this could entail is not currently defined, although it is known that opportunities exist within Parks’ system and need to be evaluated and a comprehensive plan developed for implementation. This effort will require either dedicated staff time and/or an outside group/consultant to complete the evaluation and create recommendations for implementation. Implementation may be limited to further interpretive signage, or other options could be proposed. This demand is included as a placeholder for capital projects that may arise out of evaluation of an all-inclusive program and/or through consideration of individual sites and opportunities for interpretation.

PRO.7. Incorporate operational efficiencies within existing parks as part of maintenance activities and through consideration of additional efficiencies such as implementation of a naturalization program and/or sustainable operations initiative–Parks seeks to operate in a sustainable manner and incorporates energy and water efficiency improvements, as practicable, in the course of maintenance and life-cycle and renovation improvements. Replacement of light fixtures and installation of irrigation controls, which utilize rainfall data, are representative of the types of improvements that Parks currently strives to incorporate into day-to-day operations.

The demand identified is to replace aging infrastructure with updated energy/water efficient components. As discussed above, Parks maintenance already seeks to improve infrastructure with energy and water efficient components whenever possible. In the interest of improving operational efficiencies, Parks has explored a naturalization program, which is intended to reduce maintenance inputs at park facilities and also to reduce environmental impacts associated with park operations. At Kayak Point Regional Park, for example, several edge areas exist which are not used by the public, but are currently mown. Some of these lawn areas could be replaced with shrubs or let grow long and be cut back only one or two times a year, instead of the weekly treatment that they currently receive. This change would reduce staff time required to maintain the park, reduce carbon emissions from maintenance equipment and increase space available for wildlife use, all with minimal impact to the park user. Implementation and expansion of this program will require a site-by-site analysis to identify areas suitable for inclusion in the program, as well as potential user impacts, in order to develop a plan for execution. The benefits of this type of effort are significant and should be pursued as staff becomes available to develop plans. Addressing this need is not considered, at this time, to be a capital project, but further exploration of a naturalization program may identify capital needs, at which time funding would be sought.

PRO.8. Develop Recreation Area Plans for the five identified Recreation Areas and improve recreation opportunities within those areas based on individual plan recommendations, as appropriate– This Park Element identifies five Recreation Areas that are considered to have natural groupings of recreational amenities and which can and should be enhanced and promoted for destination recreation. Coordination has already begun within the Sky Valley and Seven Lakes Areas with other recreation providers to identify shared goals and opportunities for enhancing recreation opportunities within those areas. Formalized plans have not yet been completed, nor have formal coordination efforts been initiated within the other three areas, and completion of these processes are expected to result in recommendation of specific actions that will enhance and further the goals of the individual plans.

The demand identified is to develop Recreation Area Plans for the five identified Recreation Areas and improve recreation opportunities within those areas based on individual plan recommendations, as appropriate. It is envisioned that over the life of this Park Element, efforts to further these plans will occur and capital projects will be proposed to implement those plans. Needed improvements associated with this demand will be based on those efforts and addressed as they are identified.

FAC.1. - Develop facilities to meet LOS standards for provision of: active and passive facilities, miles of developed Regional Trails, waterfront miles and campsites, as well as parking spaces to support use of those facilities- Parks will consider projects to meet LOS standards on an annual basis through the CIP. Projects will be identified by Parks staff and stakeholders and will be prioritized for placement in existing parks. Where acquisition of a new facility to meet LOS needs is considered, proximity to the population to be served will be minimized whenever possible.

FAC.2. Provide facilities to meet projected county age demographics, with particular focus on facilities to serve aging populations– During development of new park sites, a public involvement process is typically followed to include stakeholders and anticipated users in identifying features to be included in the new park. Parks solicits input into this process typically through community notices and meetings, fliers to surrounding residences, identification of stakeholders and partners and formation of advisory groups. This process works well for identifying demands for an individual facility, identifying what is appropriate for that facility and developing programming to meet the identified need(s).

This input process however tends to be very focused on immediate demands and generally participants do not project anticipated future needs. Parks staff takes the role of long term projection, and envisions the function of facilities past the immediately expressed demand. Identification of anticipated community demographics is of particular importance and provision of facilities that will meet the future needs of an aging user group is considered. Parks staff has identified that accessibility maximization is a key action that should be taken to ensure Parks is positioned to serve an aging community. A system-wide evaluation of Parks implementation of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations and guidelines was initiated in 2012 and areas for improvement were identified. Generally speaking, Parks has done very well in integrating accessibility into development of new facilities and across the system accessible features are generally provided. Challenges were identified at several natural parks where site conditions (such as regular flooding) affected the ability to provide accessible surfaces and at several older parks where site deterioration (particularly of paved surfaces) affected accessible routes. A summary of all areas identified for improvement was created and a prioritization scheme generated to improve accessibility whenever feasible. Funding for this work is provided through Parks’ General Improvement fund, as well as through individual capital projects, which incorporate accessibility improvements as a part of larger park renovations (e.g. Kayak park renovation project).

Continued provision of features that are ‘youth orientated’ is important, but will include accessibility features so that all demographics of our community can participate and enjoy the diversity of activities that Parks has to offer. Miner’s Corner Park, for example, includes an extensive playground, but the area includes accessibility features so that both disabled children can enjoy the playground and mobility challenged adults can interact with their children as they enjoy the area.

The demand identified is to provide facilities to meet projected county age demographics, with particular focus on facilities to serve aging populations. Parks will continue efforts to identify emerging long-term trends in county age demographics and plan for anticipated population, while also continuing to focus on providing accessible parks to maximize use at those facilities. Specific projects that will help further this effort include continued improvements identified through the accessibility review and larger park renovations to address barriers caused by aging facilities (see FAC.4.).

FAC.3. Provide facilities which encourage active recreation and participation in recreation activities–This demand is provided in response to trends of increasing obesity within Snohomish County. In the Snohomish Health District report “How Big are We?” (Snohomish Health District, 2007), six goals are presented to aid in prevention of obesity. Three of the goals are related to nutrition and three are related to physical activity. Of the three physical activity goals, all can, in some way be addressed through the provision of parks. The physical activity goals are:

1.Increase the physical activity opportunities available to youth

2.Increase the number of people who have access to free or low-cost recreational activities

3.Increase the number of community environments that are conducive to physical activity

These three goals can be met through provision of parks that encourage active recreation and participation in recreational activities. This demand is also reflected in the new RCO recommended level-of-service methodology which includes indicators which put special emphasis on access to park facilities by the public and the percentage of the population that participates in active outdoor activities (Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, 2008). As the role of parks in contributing to healthy communities continues to be better understood, it makes sense that new emphasis is placed on accessibility of parks and participation in recreation activities.

Providing facilities that encourage active recreation and participation in recreation activities is based upon an interest in encouraging physical activity, both by providing facilities that allow users to participate in physical activity and by locating facilities so that are easily accessible for use. ‘Active’ recreation in this context is based upon the RCO definition of the term, which refers to recreation that is muscle powered, and is different from how active recreation is defined in Chapter I for identification of different recreation experience groupings. When considering facilities that provide for muscle powered activities, the majority of developed facilities provided by Parks include some type of ‘active’ recreation opportunity. It is estimated that 88% of developed Parks meet this criteria. Examples of recreation activities provided, which are considered to encourage active recreation, include trails (e.g. Centennial Trail, Meadowdale Beach and Portage Creek Wildlife Area), ballfields, and playgrounds.

The second implied component of this demand is to locate park facilities so as to be easily accessible by users. Each classification of park provided by Snohomish County includes a presumed service area, which is the distance that users are anticipated to travel to use the facility; Neighborhood Parks and Community Parks have the smallest presumed service area (1/4 mile and 5 miles respectively) while the service area for Regional Parks, Trails and Special Use facilities is considered to be county-wide. Analysis of 2010 population within service areas for each classification found that approximately 85% of unincorporated county population was within 5 miles of a county-provided Community Park.

The demand identified is to provide facilities which encourage active recreation and participation in recreation activities. Parks is currently doing very well at providing facilities which encourage active recreation and reviews distance to parks as part of LOS implementation. No separate actions are proposed therefore to address this demand as the need is already being addressed.

FAC.4. Renovate and/or Maintain Existing Facilities– This demand is based on stakeholder/public input.

Stakeholder/public sentiment qualified that the county should focus on maintaining existing facilities rather than developing new sites. There will continue to be the need for new facilities to address demands identified in this Park Element, but there is also a need to renovate existing park facilities and make life-cycle replacements of aging park components. Consideration of additional development at several existing sites can also help meet recreation needs, without requiring development of a new facility.

Renovation – Many of the facilities in the Snohomish County Park system were developed over thirty years ago and have reached the point of needing renovation. Parks that fall into this category include: Kayak Point, Flowing Lake, Wenberg, the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, River Meadows, McCollum and Squire Creek. Interestingly, this list of aging parks also includes the entire list of camping facilities, which are a profit center for the department. Due to the age of these facilities, repairs at these parks are increasingly common and Parks’ campgrounds do not always include the modern amenities campers are looking for (e.g. increased power, internet access, larger camp sites, etc.). Typical on-going repairs at aging facilities include water and power issues, asphalt cracking, and stormwater related concerns. Larger issues related to these older facilities often include awkward ADA retrofits and lack of stormwater treatment. Renovations are needed at these facilities to replace aging infrastructure, to fully incorporate ADA accessibility and to address stormwater treatment and detention, all to support the goals of providing a quality visitor experience and of reducing operation costs and maintenance needs.

The parks listed above rank as follow:

Table 10.  Park Renovation Prioritization

Require Significant Maintenance1

Need Energy/Water Efficiency Upgrades2

Heavily Used and/or Significant Revenue3

In Proximity to Water Bodies and Stormwater Improvements are Needed4

Fairgrounds

X

X

X

Flowing Lake

X

X

X

Kayak Point

X

X

X

X

McCollum

X

X

River Meadows

X

X

Squire Creek

X

Wenberg

X

X

X

X

1.Based on maintenance time reporting from 2013. Net costs over $7,000 are identified as significant.

2.Based on maintenance identified upgrade needs

3.Based on 2013 revenue collections and user counts. Revenue greater than $150,000 is identified as ‘significant’ and visitor counts over 40,000 are identified as ‘heavily used.’

4.Based on proximity of impervious surfaces to creek, lake or Puget Sound and type, if any, of stormwater treatment facilities.

According to this ranking, Kayak Point, Wenberg, Flowing Lake and the Fairgrounds should be prioritized for renovation.

Life-Cycle Replacements – Parks maintains a wide variety of amenities and infrastructure, including playgrounds, pavement, irrigation systems, shelters, ballfields, restrooms, rental houses, etc. All of these structures have a life-cycle, at which point they need to be renovated or replaced. Regular maintenance can sometimes reduce the need for replacement (e.g. asphalt sealing to minimize larger failures) and continued investment into Parks’ system is needed to maximize the life-cycle of structures, followed by replacement, or renovation, at the end of the structure life-cycle.

A capital replacement schedule is generally used to schedule replacements. However, because many life-cycle replacements have been deferred in recent years, Parks’ system currently has a number of significant replacement needs. Parks has developed an Asset Maintenance Plan, which incorporates both anticipated life-cycle replacements as well as adjustments to replacement schedules to allow for priority replacements as well as delayed replacement, if the asset is performing better than anticipated. This Asset Maintenance Plan is used as the basis for life-cycle funding requests through the county’s CIP. Generally, projects valued at under $40,000 are lumped together as ‘General Improvements’ in the annual CIP, while those over this value are identified and budgeted separately.

Additional Recreation Amenities – Public feedback encouraged the use of existing facilities, before developing new ones, in order to address recreation needs. As mentioned above, there will be times when acquisition and development of new facilities is needed, but many currently developed parks can accommodate features that will serve additional park visitors. Acquisition may still be needed if sufficient area is not available to satisfy the identified need, but in many cases, additional development at existing sites is suitable. Parks is sensitive to maintaining quality visitor experiences and will limit proposed park expansions if it is determined that expansion would detract from the experience that the park provides and/or if it is determined that expansion would cause negative impacts to the park resources. The location of existing parks will also determine if provision of additional amenities is appropriate or not. Consideration of anticipated user groups and proximity to those groups will be taken into consideration. Parks level-of-service methodology will guide selection of projects intended to satisfy recreation needs related to population growth and will address the demand to provide amenities at existing parks.

The demand identified is to renovate and/or maintain existing facilities. Specific projects that are identified to meet this demand are:

Renovation of Kayak Point, Wenberg and Flowing Lake Parks as well as the Evergreen State Fairgrounds

Complete life-cycle improvements identified through the Asset Maintenance Plan

Utilize level-of-service methodology to provide improvements to serve additional population at existing parks, when appropriate

FAC.5. Provide Additional Water Access, in Particular Saltwater Access– Snohomish County is a water-based community, with approximately 460 lakes, two major rivers and a multitude of smaller rivers, creeks and streams. Additionally, Snohomish County is bordered on its western edge by Puget Sound, offering incredible opportunities for water-based recreation and scenic viewpoint opportunities.

Snohomish County residents value access to water and ‘water access’ has ranked high on public interest surveys regarding recreation priorities. Many water-based recreation sites exist in the county and Parks provides Kayak Point, Meadowdale, Picnic Point, Lake Goodwin, Wenberg, Wyatt, Flowing Lake, Twin Rivers, Field’s Riffle and River Meadows Parks. However, within Snohomish County, saltwater access is relatively scarce.

According to the Washington State Coastal Atlas (Washington State Department of Ecology, 2010) there were 27 public beaches in 2010 within Snohomish County. Although this may seem like a high number, by comparison, the Coastal Atlas reported 50 public beaches in Skagit County, 97 in King County and 90 in Pierce County at the same time. This, along with the heavy use saltwater parks receive, indicates that a shortage exists and should be a priority for acquisition and expansion of existing facilities, where appropriate.

The demand identified is to provide additional water access, in particular saltwater access. Parks currently provides saltwater access at Meadowdale Beach, Picnic Point, the 10th St. Boat Launch (together with other owners City of Everett and Port of Everett) and Kayak Point Park. The waterfront areas of all these properties are fully developed and expansion to provide additional public access without additional acquisition is not thought to be feasible, with the exception of Meadowdale Beach Park. Additional access at Meadowdale may be possible through expansion of the parking area, or provision of additional parking areas, as use of the site is often limited by the number of available parking spaces. At this time however, providing additional saltwater access at Meadowdale Park is complicated by issues associated with the culvert/public access under the Burlington Northern Sante Fe railroad grade, which separates the park from the waterfront. Efforts are currently underway to determine alternative access options for the park and progress in addressing this issue may support parking expansion at Meadowdale and help address the need for water access. The City of Lynnwood has ownership adjacent to Meadowdale that may be suitable for parking and a partnership could be explored to provide access.

Within the Snohomish River Estuary, Snohomish County currently owns approximately 1,800 acres and another 2,200 acres (approximately) is in other public ownership. Within this area, public access is provided at Spencer Island (Snohomish County and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife), at Langus Park (City of Everett) and at Ebey Waterfront Park (City of Marysville). While not the typical access that is envisioned when considering ‘saltwater access,’ the estuary is rich in recreational opportunities and can provide an integrated system of trails, kayaking, bird watching and hunting. The estuary is included as one of the five Recreation Areas addressed in this Park Element and completion and implementation of a Snohomish River Estuary Recreation Area Plan would help address the need for water/saltwater access.

In addition to efforts to increase public access within the Snohomish River estuary, acquisition of an additional saltwater access point on Puget Sound is needed. Opportunities for additional lake and river front acquisitions should also be considered and pursued, as appropriate.

Specific projects that would address the identified demand are:

Acquire and develop at least one additional saltwater access property

Develop the Snohomish River Estuary Recreation Area Plan and complete improvements/acquisition based on recommendations

Improve saltwater access at Meadowdale Beach through access improvements in the vicinity of the railroad crossing

Provide additional parking access to Meadowdale Beach

Acquire and develop additional lake access park(s)

Participate in capital improvement projects at the 10th St. Boat Launch as required through agreement with the Port of Everett and City of Everett

Renovate Kayak Point Park to allow continued use of this popular facility

FAC.6. Provide Additional Trail Facilities- Providing trails has been a priority of Parks for many decades. Trails are immensely popular and are utilized by a wide variety of recreationists (hikers, bikers, skaters, equestrians, etc.) and also provide alternative transportation options. Parks has been focusing on acquisition and development of three major regional trails (Centennial, Whitehorse and Interurban Trails) and in 2012 completed a draft Snohomish County Regional Trail Planning and Management Guidelines (Trail Guidelines) (Snohomish County Department of Parks & Recreation, 2012). A vision is provided within this document for regional trails in Snohomish County that states:

“To connect communities, major recreation destinations, and urban centers with a system of trails for recreation and non-motorized transportation that provides the widest range of non-motorized travel modes and that emphasizes safety of users and accessibility to the greatest extent possible.”

This document provides standards for provision of regional trails and also identifies new, recommended trail and bikeway alignments. Parks works together with the Snohomish County Department of Public Works (Public Works), to identify connections between regional trails and street-based bikeways, in order to provide an integrated system of non-motorized transportation (bikeways and trails) across the county. Parks and Public Works seek to locate these facilities in order to provide connections between public facilities and to address the demand for an integrated system of passive and active parks and open spaces and trails.

The demand identified is to provide additional trail facilities. Currently 36.5 miles of the regional trail alignment owned by the county are developed and/or open for public use. Continued development efforts are planned and interest is high in completing:

The Centennial Trail alignment south from the City of Snohomish – this alignment extends to King County and will be the County’s first rails-with-trails project

The Centennial Trail spur that connects the Cities of Snohomish and Monroe – this alignment is anticipated to receive significant equestrian use

Identifying and providing a Centennial Trail connection to the City of Stanwood through the City of Arlington – investigations have not yet been initiated for this project and the connection may prove to be best accomplished through bikeway development

Development of the Whitehorse Trail – this alignment extends between the City of Arlington and Town of Darrington and is also expected to receive significant equestrian use

Acquisition and development of the trail alignment from the City of Monroe south to the county line

Acquisition of trailhead sites throughout the system are expected to be needed as part of development of the owned corridors

In addition to bikeway routes that are being coordinated with Public Works, the Trail Guidelines document identifies a number of new, proposed, Regional Trails which follow Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1 (PUD) power corridors. Specifically, these alignments are identified as the Three Lakes Trail, Tree Creeks Trail and Sky Valley/Greenway Connector Trail. Future provision of trails within these corridors will require approval and coordination with the PUD and are considered to be long-range projects, with a lower priority for completion than the three currently owned trails.

Public interest is also high for park based trails. During development of new park facilities, there is typically stakeholder/public interest expressed for provision of some type of trail system, whether it is paved or natural surface. Inclusion of trails in individual park facilities is typically based upon park user interest, and site suitability, and is determined on a case-by-case basis.

A number of park based trail systems are currently being considered:

Heybrook Ridge County Park was first acquired in 2008 and was acquired partially to provide a back-country trail system. The park is 129 acres and, once developed, is expected to provide destination recreation. Development of a trail system at this park is planned to help address the demand for additional trails in Snohomish County.

Additional acreage was acquired north of Flowing Lake in 2014 and is envisioned to expand use of the existing park, including trails for camper use and possible biking.

The Reiter Foothills property was acquired in 2010 to provide a trailhead for adjacent state owned lands. Efforts are underway to develop this site and provide another trail access point to the Washington State Reiter Foothills Recreation Area.

Property at West Lake Roesiger was acquired in 2011 and is located adjacent to a large holding acquired by the DNR and is planned for trailhead access to that property.

Master planning for the Wellington Hills property has been underway since acquisition in 2012 and a park-based trail system is planned for enjoyment of this 101 acre park. Trail installation is anticipated to occur with park development.

Requests for additional trails, and modification of existing trails, are received frequently and are considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration natural resource, operational, park experience and funding impacts.

A number of specific trail projects (both regional and park-based) have been identified to address the need related to providing additional trail facilities:

Develop the Centennial Trail alignment as a rails-with-trails project from the City of Snohomish south into King County

Develop the Centennial Trail spur between the cities of Snohomish and Monroe, with acquisition of properties as needed to provide trailheads and connectivity to other trail/bikeway systems

Complete acquisition of the trail alignment from the City of Monroe to the King County line and develop

Identify and develop a connection to the Centennial Trail from the City of Stanwood through the City of Arlington (possible bikeway project)

Continue to provide improvements along regional trail corridors to address public identified priorities

Complete development of the Whitehorse Trail, including trailhead development

Acquire and develop trailheads on all Regional Trails at a minimum spacing of 2 – 6 miles apart as recommended in the Snohomish County Regional Trail Planning and Management Guidelines (Snohomish County Department of Parks & Recreation, 2012)

Support Public Works in the completion of the North Creek Trail

Provide trail/bikeway connections between public facilities, as feasible

Consider and provide paved or soft surface trails within parks, as supported by the community expected to be served by new park facilities, and as appropriate

Develop trails at Heybrook Ridge County Park

Develop Reiter Foothills trailhead

Develop West Lake Roesiger trailhead

Provide park-based trails within Wellington Hills County Park as a part of development

Consider and provide additional Regional Trails and park-based trail projects as projects present themselves and pursue as appropriate and funding is available

Make improvements to Regional Trails as identified and recommended through stakeholder/public comments as appropriate and feasible

Where these improvements relate to a specific facility, they are shown on the Trail Improvements Map located in Appendix D. Information on proposed bikeways is maintained by Public Works and should be obtained from that department.

FAC.7. Provide Additional Equestrian Recreation Opportunities– Representatives from the equestrian community were major participants in development of this Park Element and indicated a wide variety of equestrian needs/concerns related to recreational opportunities in Snohomish County. Equestrian issues are of particular importance in Snohomish County because of the unusually high number of horse owners who reside here. Actual statistics are difficult to find but the Snohomish County 4-H Youth Horse Program webpage reports more than 1,600 youth participants and that it is the largest 4-H youth development program in the world. State statistics are also high, and a 2009 Seattle Times article noted that Washington State ranks 11th in number of total horses nationally and that the per capita ranking of the state is near the top (Broom, 2009). The per capita horse population in Snohomish County is also said to be the highest of all the counties in the nation, but statistics to back that claim up have not been found.

Parks’ main equestrian facilities currently include Lord Hill Regional Park (forested trails), Centennial Trail (long distance multiuse trail) and the Evergreen State Fairgrounds (practice and competition arenas, event space and barns). Public meeting participants were very interested in a number of future Park developments, in particular development of the Whitehorse Trail, with associated trailheads, and trails accessed through the West Lake Roesiger property.

The demand identified is to provide additional equestrian recreation opportunities. Equestrian recreational needs are diverse and a central group representing all the various interests does not exist. Needless to say ‘more’ and ‘better’ was the common request of all the equestrian groups. This could equate to additional backcountry trails, better use of the Centennial Trail (interaction problems were a common equestrian complaint regarding this facility), improvements/expansion of the Fairgrounds, installation of carting courses and other improvements.

Specific projects identified to address the need for additional equestrian facilities are:

Creation of a ‘Snohomish County Equestrian Recreation Inventory’ to identify opportunities for equestrian recreation enhancement through improvements within Parks system (e.g. linkages to Pilchuck Tree Farm system, which allows for equestrian use). This item does not specifically lead to a capital project, but completion of the inventory may guide future improvements.

Renovation and improvements at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds

Development of the Whitehorse Trail and provision of trailheads that support equestrian access

Enhancement of the Paradise Valley Conservation Area trailhead to provide for better equestrian access

Trail improvements at Lord Hill

Development of the West Lake Roesiger trailhead

FAC.8. Provide additional leisure facilities, with specific emphasis on picnic areas, camping, playgrounds and off-leash areas – In recent years, interest in leisure facilities has increased. ‘Leisure facilities,’ as defined by Parks, includes picnic areas, camping, playgrounds, off-leash dog areas and viewpoints. Provision of these types of facilities, with the exception of camping, has typically been driven by community interest during development of a specific facility. Use of these facilities is high however and reservations for picnic shelters provided by Parks topped 864 in 2013, camping use averaged 90 site nights across Kayak Point, Flowing and Wenberg and playgrounds and off-leash dog areas seem to be in constant use. The location of current picnic areas, camping, playgrounds and off-leash areas is provided in the current Snohomish County Park Inventory Report (PIR). Parks provides access to viewpoints predominantly through trail use and specific use information for these features is not known.

Provision of camping is a focus for Parks and camping is currently provided at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, Flowing Lake, Kayak Point, River Meadows, Squire Creek and Wenberg Parks. Use of these facilities is high and a Camping Team has been formed to identify priorities for improvement of existing facilities as well as opportunities for expansion. It has been recognized that a number of improvements are needed (e.g. power upgrades, site leveling, access road improvements) in order to maintain current use and that opportunities for expansion are present at a number of current campgrounds as well as parks that do not currently offer camping facilities. The Camping Team has identified and prioritized improvements to existing campgrounds, which are planned to be completed between 2014 and 2016. Following these improvements to existing facilities, expansion of camping at Kayak Point and Flowing Lake Parks are envisioned. Both facilities have space that is suitable for provision of additional camping and have existing Ranger presence, which would create efficiencies in serving the new camping areas. Recent interest in developing the Whitehorse Trail has also elevated development of camping along its alignment. Parks owns a number of properties which are suitable for camping provision and which would contribute to the experience of utilizing this unique trail. Additional opportunities for camping expansion could also be realized at River Meadows, where camping is envisioned to eventually be relocated, and at a number of other parks.

The demand identified is to provide additional leisure facilities, with specific emphasis on picnic areas, camping, playgrounds and off-leash areas. A plan for camping improvements is currently being implemented and is focused first on improvement of existing facilities, followed by expansion of the facilities offered. Provision of the remaining leisure facilities identified as a priority, could occur through implementation of level-of-service standards and by prioritizing picnicking, playgrounds, viewpoints and off-leash areas.

Specific capital camping improvements that have been identified to address this need are:

Expand camping at Kayak Point Park

Expand camping at Flowing Lake Park

Move camping at River Meadows to the upper terrace

Make improvements to existing campgrounds as identified and prioritized by Camping Team

Provide additional convenience camping

Replace ranger stations at Kayak Point and Flowing Lake Parks

Provide new camping areas as feasible and appropriate

Develop camping opportunities along the Whitehorse Trail

FAC.9. Provide an aquatic facility– Aquatic facilities provided within Snohomish County generally fall into the realm of recreational pool, used by individuals for exercise and/or community swim lessons, or recreational facility, that includes features such as water play and ‘lazy river’ amenities. None of these facilities meet the demand identified above for a competition level aquatic facility.

The demand identified is to provide an aquatic facility. It is envisioned that this facility will include facilities to support competition events and enough other amenities to maximize return on investment. Provision of this facility is anticipated to best be completed through a partnership with other recreation providers. As this facility is intended to serve regional needs and support competition events, the ultimate location should be sited near major transportation corridors.

FAC.10. Provide a regional athletic facility– Soccer and baseball facilities provided by cities and towns in Snohomish County, as well as Parks, are shown in Appendix B, and are identified based upon aerial photograph evaluation. The demand identified is to provide a regional athletic facility that can also serve multiple athletic needs, including sports such as lacrosse. Soccer and baseball were specifically evaluated because they are most common and because soccer fields, in particular, can serve multiple purposes. The map provided in Appendix B identifies the number and mix of fields at each site identified. Although some sites (e.g. Skykomish River Park) represent a large number of fields, the soccer fields provided are a mix of different sizes and the number of actual fields that could be involved in a tournament event would likely be reduced. Currently the site which provides the largest number of similarly sized fields is Fairfield County Park, which provides eight regulation sized fields.

The demand identified is to provide a regional athletic facility. It is envisioned that this facility will include a minimum of ten fields of the same type and will support multiple field types. Ideally this facility would include synthetic turf fields and lighting. Provision of this facility is anticipated to be best provided through a partnership with other recreation provides. As this facility is intended to serve regional needs and to support competition events, the ultimate location should be sited near major transportation corridors. The 2007 Comprehensive Park and Recreation Plan envisioned that this facility would be located in the Marysville area, as recreation provider information at that time identified this area as being most in need. A new analysis at the time of project initiation will be completed to determine the best location for this facility.

FAC.11. Develop the Sky Valley Sportsman’s Park– The Sky Valley Sportsman’s Park was reconveyed to Snohomish County from the DNR in 2010. The property is located northeast of the City of Sultan and was reconveyed for public park purposes and more specifically to provide a public shooting facility. As of 2014, the property is undeveloped but efforts have been initiated to develop a master plan for site development.

The demand identified was to develop the Sky Valley Sportsman’s Park into a shooting facility. This need has already been noted and funding allocated to create development plans for the site. Parks has identified however that operation of a shooting range does not fit into the department’s core competencies and a public/private and/or public/non-profit partnership will need to be entered into in order to support facility development and on-going operation. Completion of the master plan will provide a basis on which to identify a suitable partner and make the decision if development should be pursued.

FAC.12. Make Improvements to the Evergreen State Fairgrounds– The Evergreen State Fairgrounds (Fairgrounds) have been a treasured public resource and gathering place for many generations. Land acquisition and development began at the current site, north of the City of Monroe, in 1912. Major building phases occurred in the 1970s and 1980s and resulted in approximately 54 buildings on the site. The site hosts the annual twelve-day fair and approximately 850 other different events during the year. These events range from a weekly swap meet to equestrian competitions, and antique car shows. These shows generate significant revenue, although the majority of facility income is derived from the twelve-day annual fair. Due to the size of this facility, convenient location on Hwy. 2, and diversity of buildings, the site has been under consideration for opportunities to expand use.

The age of the Fairgrounds presents a particular concern. Buildings at this facility (besides the Shanahan cabin, which dates to 1900) range in date of construction from 1948 to the recent addition of the Gary D. Weikel Event Center in 2011. Over half of the main structures were built before 1980, including significant buildings such as the Grandstands, Commercial Building and Indoor Arena.

The demand identified for the Fairgrounds was to make improvements to the facility. Potential improvements to the Fairgrounds have been identified and evaluated in a 2009 redevelopment initiative and in a 2013 – 2015 master planning process.

In addition to large, capital improvements identified through the master planning process for the Fairgrounds, smaller lifespan renovations and facility improvements are identified by site staff and funded through income derived by the facility. Improvements range from roof replacement to utility upgrades and are prioritized by staff. Projects identified for completion are selected annually based on available funding and identified needs.

Specific capital projects to be completed for the Fairgrounds are expected to be derived from the master planning process as well as the 2009 Redevelopment Initiative and annual maintenance and operation program and improvements.

FAC.13. Implement Sustainable Operations Action Plan– Snohomish County adopted a Sustainable Operations Action Plan (SOAP) in 2013, which “…provides a strategic and systematic approach to integrating environmentally sustainable practices into County government operations” (Snohomish County Office of Energy & Sustainability, 2013). The SOAP is targeted at refining county day-to-day operations in order to reduce environmental impacts and includes a number of goals and objectives for implementation through 2017. Many of the goals and objectives included relate to county procedures, but a number of capital projects may be derived, as a means of meeting the goals and objectives of the document.

The demand identified is to implement capital improvements included in the SOAP, which are applicable to Parks. The County seeks to reduce energy and potable water use and produce, use or procure renewable energy at several county sites including Parks’ McCollum pool, Willis D. Tucker Park and the Fairgrounds Event Center. In order to achieve these objectives, it is anticipated that improvements such as installation of solar panels, greywater reuse systems and/or appliance replacements (such as water boilers) may be needed. Funding for these projects and other improvements identified to implement the SOAP will be included within the CIP as feasible. The SOAP currently addresses a five year period from 2012 – 2017. It is anticipated that future updates to this plan, or some other version thereof, will be generated and adopted and Parks will continue to evaluate capital projects needed to implement such efforts.

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