LYNNWOOD — A park is evolving on the west side of Lake Stickney, on the same land where neighbors started working to block housing developments more than two decades ago.
That movement to protect water quality and habitat has helped carve out a play area for the neighborhood at large.
Lake Stickney Community Park is starting to take shape.
Crews got to work this month on building a playground and grassy field with lake views. That project, with a budget of just over $1 million, comes in addition to an existing off-leash dog area.
“It worked out for the little guy,” said Joyce Altaras, a lakeside homeowner who’s been at the forefront of the preservation efforts.
Snohomish County through several purchases has cobbled together about 25 acres for parkland and natural areas. That’s roughly the same size as the lake itself — and a potential draw for multitudes of new homes next door, along Admiralty Way and Manor Way in this patch of unincorporated Lynnwood.
Lake Stickney lies between I-5 and Highway 99. It’s considered an environmentally sensitive area, because the lake waters drain into Swamp Creek and eventually wind up in Lake Washington.
The county started acquiring land in the area in 2008, buying some of the waterfront property once slated for development. More recently, the county acquired a trailer park and demolished the buildings there last year.
The spot where the trailer park used to be now provides a gravel parking lot for the off-leash dog area.
Construction equipment appeared earlier this month to build the next phase of the park.
“Its primary feature is going to be a nature playground,” county parks planner Thomas Hartzell said. “The main focus of the playground will be a more natural style with rocks and logs and plant material.”
The play structures will resemble those at Miner’s Corner, a county park near Bothell.
Another feature planned at Lake Stickney is a grassy open space with a 6-foot-high mound for park patrons to see the lake. Heavy vegetation blocks the nearby shoreline from view or easy access.
The current park project will take up about 3 acres, Hartzell said. Other areas are likely to remain as is, for the foreseeable future.
Construction is scheduled to finish by the end of May. A state Recreation and Conservation Office grant is helping to pay for the work.
Future improvements might include a boardwalk.
“I would like to see the park used, especially where the playground is, because they’re all uplands and not sensitive,” said Altaras, the president of the Lake Stickney Conservancy. “My whole thing was preservation and that’s what the park was primarily meant for.”