Redmond's new downtown park is beginning to take shape with the addition of several "bistro-style" tables and chairs and an ongoing series of live performances this summer.
The grassy space, located along 161st Avenue Northeast between Redmond Way and Cleveland Street on what will eventually become a two-acre parcel, is currently open to the public during normal city park hours of 8 a.m. to dusk.
B Sanders, a senior park planner for the City of Redmond, said city officials are exploring avenues for “interim low-cost development” of the space while the city works to secure funding for its permanent transformation into a park. A "Sundays in the Park" live performance series kicked off last weekend during Derby Days.
This Saturday at 4 p.m., Lucia Neare will present the first part of her performance art series titled "Professor Pomme’s Pomp & Pastry Paradoxicals I, II & III." Sanders said the whimsical performance will include artists wearing "beautiful but unusual costumes” who will travel throughout downtown trying to draw people in to the park.
“The idea is that people will follow them as they head toward the downtown park,” she said. “It ends up being like this spectacle of some kind.”
On Sunday, performers from the will be at the park from 1 to 3 p.m. to continue the Sundays in the Park series. (See attached PDF for complete schedule of upcoming events at the park.)
The city began acquiring property for the downtown park in 2009, and has to make way for the new green space.
Sanders said all the property acquisitions have been finalized, but four additional buildings still need to be demolished. For the next two years, she said, the city will continue to do low-cost improvements to the space, such as planting more grass and shrubs, and perhaps adding a walking trail.
The final development of the park is likely still five to six years away, Sanders said.
Meanwhile, city staff are gathering input about what residents would like to see at the new park. Sanders said city park planners will be in attendance at each of the remaining four Sunday performances to solicit ideas and hand out surveys. This fall, the city will conduct a larger outreach effort to gather resident input on the park's master plan, she said.
So far, Sanders said, residents have told city staff they'd like the park to be a place that encourages casual activity, such as meeting a friend or drinking a cup of coffee. She said city staff was somewhat surprised by the amount of children who were at the inaugural Sundays in the Park event last weekend, and, as a result, they are now thinking about adding some kid-friendly physical features to the new space.
"It’s clear we need to accommodate them (children) in whatever we do,” Sanders said.