City Council Approves Plan for Parks Operations and Programming

Published on May 20, 2020

Media Contact:
Kellie Stickney
Communications Program Manager
(425) 979-6562

KIRKLAND, Wash. – During their May 19 meeting, the City Council approved Resolution 5424 implementing strategies for reopening parks facilities and summer programming that respond to community concerns, human service needs, and public health and safety requirements to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Resolution 5424 addresses how park amenities and programming would reopen under Governor’s Inslee’s “Safe Start” approach including, special events, community pools, informal and organized athletics, and outdoor amenities such as trails and swim beaches.

“The City Council did not make any of these decisions lightly,” said Councilmember Kelli Curtis. “We understand that parks programming and outdoor spaces are essential to the quality of life of Kirkland residents. It was a difficult and thoughtful process to arrive at a plan that we believe provides for the physical and mental well-being of the community, while slowing the spread of COVID-19.”

“We understand the importance of access to parks and open spaces for all of our community members, but especially for many of our residents that would not have access to play areas without public parks,” said Councilmember Jon Pascal. “The approved strategy allows us to provide safe spaces for recreation, while making it possible to reallocate staff resources to assist our more vulnerable populations and to encourage safe physical distancing while the community enjoys our parks.”

All plans are subject to change depending upon specific industry standards being developed by Governor Inslee’s office. In all phases, group restrictions set by the Governor must be followed. The City is still evaluating the possibility of providing lifeguards at swim beaches this summer.
All refunds will begin to be processed on Tuesday, May 26. Community members do not have to take any action to receive a refund.

The following is a summary of the direction included in Resolution 5424:

Supporting Community Needs

City recreation staff and Green Kirkland Partnership staff will be reallocated to serve as parks ambassadors and to support ongoing or emerging parks monitoring and human service needs during all “Safe Start” phases this summer. Parks and Community Services staff will offer virtual programming free of charge during the summer, including online instructional programs, art and science events, and virtual community-building social, cultural and athletic events. Staff is in the process of developing this virtual curriculum.

“Safe Start” Phase 1

Parks, trails, beachfront parks, dog parks, docks and piers, Marina Park moorage, boat launches, the Marina Park restroom and the cemetery are currently open. The Kirkland Downtown Association’s Wednesday Market and the Juanita Beach Friday Market will be opening in early June. The Wednesday Market will function as a walk-thru market with measures taken to allow for physical distancing. The Juanita Beach Farmer’s Market will be a drive-thru market. These decisions comply with Phase 1 of the Governor’s “Safe Start” reopening plan. All open parks and facilities will remain open throughout the summer consistent with Phase 1 guidelines.

“Safe Start” Phase 2

When Phase 2 of the Governor’s “Safe Start” reopening plan is authorized, Parks & Community Services will reopen all public park restrooms, picnic shelters, tennis and pickleball courts and may allow park vendors to operate in City parks. The waterfront trails along downtown and Carillon point will also be reopened to the public at this time.

“Safe Start” Phase 3

When Phase 3 of the Governor’s “Safe Start” reopening plan is authorized, Parks and Community Services will reopen all park playgrounds, park pavilions, sports courts for basketball and volleyball, and athletic fields. Athletic field use by organized sports leagues and programs will also be allowed during this phase. Any organization renting field space will be required to submit a plan detailing how they will keep players, coaches, support staff and spectators safe during field use. Organizations will also be required to sign indemnification contracts with the City. Failure to implement approved plans will result in the termination of rental agreements. Staff may also offer “Pop-up” programming in the parks.

Summer Facility Closures and Program Cancellations Through September 1, 2020

• The Peter Kirk Pool shall be closed for the summer season.
• The North Kirkland Community Center and the Peter Kirk Community Center shall be closed for public use through September 1, 2020 except to provide selected senior services and support for human service needs.
• All public, private and non-profit special events that use City facilities and infrastructure are cancelled through September 1, 2020. Special events may be rescheduled after September 1 if authorized by the Governor’s “Safe Start” reopening plan.
• Green Kirkland Partnership restoration events are suspended until September 1, 2020.
• All current parks recreational programming is cancelled through September 1, 2020 to allow City recreation staff to prepare for COVID-19 modified programming after September 1.

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