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Resident input sought for new Poulsbo park

Poulsbo residents brainstorm ideas for a new park, Morrow Manor, planned for the corner of Noll Road and Mesford Street. - Richard D. Oxley / North Kitsap Herald
Poulsbo residents brainstorm ideas for a new park, Morrow Manor, planned for the corner of Noll Road and Mesford Street.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / North Kitsap Herald

POULSBO — Picnic tables, benches and quiet areas. A water gun and wading pool, a Frisbee course, a tree fort. A parkour-style trail with a rock-climbing wall, and a hopscotch court.

The brainstorming effort with Poulsbo residents produced a range of ideas, such as these, for a new park slated for the corner of Noll Road and Mesford Street.

“It’s a wonderful project. We call it ‘Morrow Manor,’” Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson said at a public meeting for the park on April 28. “I couldn’t be more happy that it is happening in the city.”

Poulsbo’s Parks & Recreation Commission hosted the April 28 meeting to discuss the proposed park with residents and gather ideas about what the park should include. Morrow Manor has no construction funding yet, but the City Council approved $5,000 for the park’s planning, and Erickson told residents that it will be constructed “hopefully in the next couple years.”

The property at the corner of Noll Road and Mesford Street is approximately 2.5 acres. A little over 1 acre will comprise the park. A total of 25 percent of trees 10 inches in diameter or larger will be retained.

The remainder of the land will be used for housing. The park parcel will eventually be donated to the city by a private land owner.

The park is bordered by residential houses on one side and land slated for development on the other, such as Mountain Aire, that will add hundreds more homes to the area.

“It is essentially located in a place where all those neighborhoods can get to,” Erickson said at the meeting.

“I hope it will be an active recreation park,” Erickson said. “With 500 houses (coming) and it being near the school, you are talking about a lot of kids.”

She added, “That’s my vision, but I’m only one person.”

Her vision lined up with some of the attendees. In all, participants at the meeting agreed that the small park should be a combination of active and passive uses.

The meeting was turned over to consultants Sandy Fischer and Jeff Bouma, from the Bainbridge Island-based Fischer-Bouma Part-nership, which specializes in landscape architecture and community planning.

The consultants lead an activity called a “charette”  — a collaborative design exercise. Participants first made a list of themes that they would associate with the park. Words such as “families,” “teens,” “low maintenance,” “creative and traditional play,” and a “Peter Pan feeling” were listed.

Another challenge was to list all the features that residents would like to be incorporated into the park.

Residents suggested ideas such as bathroom facilities, security systems, a tree fort, a basketball court, bike trails, and game tables for chess. Playground equipment such as slides and swings were also mentioned.

Mary McCluskey, director of the Parks & Recreation Department, commented that she likes the idea of having a water park with wading pools and a “giant water gun,” but noted that the site is too small for something that is likely to be a popular draw.

Residents then gathered around two maps of the property and drew ideas for how the park could look. The resulting two maps were strikingly similar.

Both had an active area near the intersection of Noll Road and Mesford Street, with tables and play equipment. Both maps featured a trail leading southeast, away from the active area, to neighboring homes. The trail included ideas for everything from benches and bike paths, to a parkour-style route with a rock climbing wall.

Parkour is a form of non-traditional forward movement; a person will jump, climb, flip, and swing around a course instead of walking straight through.

With the collection of ideas gathered, the Parks & Recreation Department, along with the consultants, will organize the thoughts into two plans, and discuss them with the Parks & Recreation Commission at an upcoming meeting in June.

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