Public input wanted on future of Ballinger Park

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — The contours of the former municipal golf course are still recognizable through the shaggy grass.

City officials are inviting people to discuss the future of the 42-acre property known as Ballinger Park at a kickoff meeting at 6 p.m. on April 14. The city has mostly left the area alone since closing the money-losing nine-hole course in 2012.

“The idea is that we get that input and we put together a goal and a vision for what that park could be,” said Jeff Betz, the city’s recreation and parks director. “Obviously, that’s not determined yet. That depends on what people want to see.”

The upcoming meeting at Ballinger Clubhouse, 23000 Lakeview Drive, follows up on outreach the city performed in 2013. It’s related to the City Council’s decision in early March to authorize paying $74,750 to Berger Partnership, a Seattle landscape architecture firm, to prepare a master plan.

Ballinger Park is the largest park in Mountlake Terrace. It adjoins a boat launch and fishing pier as well as athletic fields. There’s also a three-acre island that was scorched by a 2009 fire.

“We’re going to look at that whole site,” Betz said. “We’re not just going to look at the golf course.”

The ballfields are unlikely to change much, he said. Ideas for improving for the former links could include an off-leash dog area, community gardens, walking trails and bird-watching areas.

Those concepts need to be balanced with protecting ecologically sensitive areas of the lake’s shoreline, Betz added. Another consideration is flood risk along Hall Creek, which flows into the north end of the lake. In a report from last year, the city’s Public Works Department suggested that flooding would improve if the creek were channeled along a more meandering course through the park.

Lake Ballinger is one of about 500 lakes in Snohomish County. Its surface area of 101 acres is split between Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds. In addition to city park property, it is ringed by 52 houses and the Nile Shrine Golf Center.

The watershed that includes McAleer Creek and Lake Ballinger once was home to significant chinook and coho salmon runs that no longer can survive in those waters. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout by the state Department of Fish &Wildlife. There’s also non-native bass and perch, along with native cutthroat trout, according to the city.

The lake was named by Judge Richard A. Ballinger, an early-20th-century Seattle Mayor and U.S. secretary of the interior, after his father, Richard H. Ballinger, who had served as a Civil War officer.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Lake Ballinger input

Mountlake Terrace has scheduled a meeting at 6 p.m. April 14 to help plan the future of park land on the north shore of Lake Ballinger.

Location: Ballinger Clubhouse, 23000 Lakeview Drive.

More info: Jeff Betz, recreation and parks director, or Ken Courtmanch, parks and property management superintendent, at 425- 776-9173 or mltrecreation@ci.mlt.wa.us.

Park clean-up party

The city has scheduled a park clean-up party on the morning of April 25. Volunteers should meet at the Ballinger Clubhouse (Senior Center) parking lot, 23000 Lakeview Drive, at 9 a.m. in comfortable work clothes, with gloves and tools in hand (no power equipment, please). Afterward, the city will host an appreciation lunch for the volunteers.

Groups should contact Ken Courtmanch at 425-776-1811. For more information, call or visit the city’s website, www.cityofmlt.com.

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