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Community Briefs

Artwork by Island artist Michal Goldberg hangs above the fireplace at the South-end Starbucks. The coffee shop held a grand re-opening earlier this month after weeks of remodeling done mostly at night. The shop has new furniture, a place for book sharing, improved outdoor heating and a chalkboard for kids.  - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
Artwork by Island artist Michal Goldberg hangs above the fireplace at the South-end Starbucks. The coffee shop held a grand re-opening earlier this month after weeks of remodeling done mostly at night. The shop has new furniture, a place for book sharing, improved outdoor heating and a chalkboard for kids.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

Parks measures to go before Island voters

Earlier this month the City Council approved two park-improvement ordinances asking Island voters to approve the measures on the November ballot.

Mercer Island voters will have the opportunity to vote on a $900,000 per year park operations and maintenance levy and a $12 million bond to fund several capital improvement projects, including Luther Burbank shoreline restoration as well as several ballfield and trail improvements.

The total annual tax impact on the $1 million average-valued Mercer Island home would be $208. Two previously approved and unrelated ballot measures will be expiring and the actual tax impact would average about $95.

It is the first time in nearly 20 years that Islanders will be asked to support a parks bond. Approval of the bond will require a 60 percent super majority. If approved, projects the money would go toward include shoreline restoration and other enhancements at Luther Burbank, the installation of several artificial surface and all-weather ballfields at the South Mercer Playfields and Island Crest Park. Additional funds would go to new trail developments, a small dog off-leash area, improving some public swim beaches as well as the Mary Wayte Pool.

In addition to paying for maintenance costs associated with the new improvements paid for with the bond, an operations and maintenance levy of $900,000 per year would include open space and forest restoration and school related park and recreation activities. The 15-year levy would also replace the current Luther Burbank levy that voters approved about five years ago. The levy only requires a simple majority to pass.

For additional information, please visit www.mercergov.org/parksmeasures2008 or contact Pete Mayer, Parks and Recreation Director/Assistant City Manager at (206) 275-7609 or pete.mayer@mercergov.org.

New South-end

trail finished

A new gravel trail is open on the South end after a couple of months of project gridlock.

The half-mile long Island Crest trail formally opened about a month ago after work resumed earlier this summer. While construction on the trail began last winter, the project came to a halt after it changed in size and scope from the originally Council-approved plans.

The trail meanders on the west side of Island Crest Way from S.E. 78th Street to 71st. It is open and already in use by several pedestrians, runners, parents pushing their baby strollers, and bikers. Many started using the new trail even before it was completed.

According to the project manager, the cost of the trail came well under the budgeted $90,000. Landscaping along the trail has not yet started. The city has received funding from the King Conservation District for a new landscaping project, which is being designed this month. A presentation of the design is tentatively scheduled before the City Council on Oct. 6. Planting would begin around the end of October.

This fall, Lakeridge Elementary students may access the trail through Wildwood Park, using it to access Pioneer Park to the north and other trails.

For more information about this project and other road, trail, park and water system projects underway for 2008, please visit www.mercergov.org/CIP.

City Council preview

A study session and two irregular scheduled City Council meetings will take place next month in addition to the normal third-Monday meeting.

The first of two monthly meetings will not take place on Monday, as it is a holiday. The meeting is now scheduled for the following day, Tuesday, Sept. 2. Prior to the meeting next week, the Council will partake in a study session concerning the city’s vision for the ongoing redevelopment of the Town Center. It begins at 6 a.m. Also on the planning schedule is an emergency preparedness briefing, a preview of the 2009-2014 capital improvement projects and the decision to approve or reject the subdivision of the Shorewood Heights Apartments.

A special Council meeting has also been set for Monday Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. as city officials will present an update about I-90, including a discussion regarding the assessment of the 520 Tolling Commissions modeling results. The city is encouraging Islanders to submit comments to the Council in advance. E-mail the Council at council@mercergov.org.

The third, regular scheduled Council meeting will take place Monday, Sept. 15. According to the planning schedule, the Council will hear a proposal regarding a two-hour parking limit in the Town Center as well as fully funding the school district’s drug and alcohol counselors for the upcoming school year. In the past, the city and district have split the costs of the counseling services 60 to 40 percent.

Repair project in CCMV parking lot

Drainage problems which left dangerous ice near the drop-off location during freezing weather at the Community Center at Mercer View has led the city to begin a repair project in the parking lot that was scheduled to start yesterday.

The Community Center and most of the parking lot will remain open during the construction. However, no pedestrian or vehicle traffic will be allowed in front of the center. Overflow parking will be allowed at Luther Burbank Park and the Park & Ride.

The project is expected to be completed by Friday and city construction officials hope the entire parking lot will be open by Sept. 2.

Patrons will not be allowed entry into the construction area and are advised to follow signage to the temporary entrances and exits. Center staff will also be available to help users safely navigate around the construction.

For general information contact the Mercer Island Parks & Recreation Department at 275.7609. If detailed information is required you may contact Marcy Olson, the Project Manager (206) 930-5260 or Jana Raasch, CCMV Manager, (206) 275-7845.

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