It’s been a long journey from a narrow inaccessible blackberry/ivy covered high bank waterfront, well hidden from the street; from a gathering place for late night partygoers and occasional daytime drug dealers; from a seldom used park -- to what it has now become: an attractive, appealing and accessible city waterfront park used by neighbors and visitors, both young and old. The journey has not been an easy one.
It started around 1970 when a group of neighbors calling themselves Friends of Kiwanis petitioned the City Council to save this almost 3-acre natural shoreline area from developers. The council listened. Since that time, the park has gone through several stages of neglect and care until 2007 when the city named this park to come under the auspices of the Green Kirkland Partnership. The goal is to “remove invasive species and sustain urban natural areas”.
In 2007, another Friends of Kiwanis group was organized to begin this work of removal and restoration. Work parties are now scheduled from March through October each year. Volunteer participants include members of the local Kiwanis Sunrisers and Noon groups, neighbors, youth groups, faith-based groups, and students filling community service hours. In addition, Kirkland Courtyard by Marriott staff volunteer monthly and the nonprofit EarthCorps recruits and manages volunteers for a large, annual restoration event.
Rain or shine, wet or dry, volunteers work at removing the pervasive ivy and blackberry, as well as several other non-native invasive plants. Tools are supplied by the city.
Records for 2010 show that over 200 volunteers contributed 650 hours of work at this park. The Kirkland Sunrisers group provides consistent support and contributed a park signboard and $1000.00 for native plants and trees.
A walk through the park reveals the results of all this work. Some of the taller trees that were once smothered with ivy have now been given a second chance for survival. Much of the pervasive Himalayan Blackberry has been removed. Now, new groundcover, shrubs, and evergreen trees -- all native to the Northwest -- can be seen throughout the different levels of Kiwanis Park. A wide, graveled path leads down to the shoreline. The upper area has two small tables/benches for picnicking or just a place to sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Parking is available along the upper edge.
All of this comes at a cost: What has been achieved over that past four years has to be maintained because the invasive plants don’t give up easily! If this park is to be used in the manner that was originally intended -- by neighbors and other city residents as a place to enjoy the native beauty of the NW -- it needs constant care. This care can be provided by joining the regularly scheduled work parties. Monetary donations are welcome, and will always be put to good use. (Event dates and donation information can be found at www.kirklandcalendar.com)
This small, waterfront park is one of the many parks in Kirkland that makes it one of the most attractive places to live on the Eastside. Come see for yourself and then sign up to be a volunteer and/or donate toward restoration costs!
Carol Lee Power Kiwanis Park Steward
Directions to the park:
From I-405 take Exit #18 (NE 85th) and go west down the hill (the road becomes Central Way) to the end-Market Street. Go right on market to 16th Ave. W. Turn left to 10th St. W. Turn left at the T intersection. Park entrance is 1/2 block on the right. Park on the street.
[box type="tick" style="rounded" border="full"]Also see these articles on Kirkland Parks: