Parks chair to run for City Council

May 6, 2011

Councilman Sonny Putter to retire

Parks Commission Chair Andrew Shelton announced in April that he will run for City Council this November in Position 4 — the position Councilman Sonny Putter occupies.

However, just before Shelton announced his intention to run, Putter announced he would retire at the end of the year, ending his 17-year stay on the council.

Shelton joins Deputy Mayor Steve Buri and Councilwoman Lisa Jensen on the November ballot. Buri and Jensen announced in March their intentions to seek re-election in positions 3 and 1, respectively. City Council positions are not divided geographically in the city.

Councilwoman Carol Simpson, who sits in Position 2, filed paperwork April 2 with the state Public Disclosure Commission, a precursor to running for election.

The deadline to file for election is June 10.

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Celebrities to come to Newcastle in June for golf tournament

April 1, 2011

UPDATED — 2:30 p.m. April 1, 2011

A crew of celebrities will take to The Golf Club at Newcastle June 27 for the fifth-annual Jim Mora Celebrity Golf Classic, event organizers announced in March.

The Jim Mora “Count On Me” Family Foundation is organizing the event, which raises money for Special Olympics Washington, the Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue and other local children’s charities.

The 2010 tournament raised more than $211,000, and the money benefited 17 charities.

Celebrities who attended last year’s event included Super Bowl champion football Hall of Fame inductee Marshall Faulk; five-time NBA MVP Bill Russell; NBA Hall of Fame player and coach Lenny Wilkens; former Seattle Mariner Jay Buhner; former NBA players Detlef Schrempf and Slick Watts; and Hall of Fame NFL player, five-time Pro-Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion Michael Irvin.

The tournament is free and open for the public to attend, although those who wish to participate must pay a fee. Organizers will announce this year’s list of attendees in early May.

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Newcastle Days committee plans 2011 celebration

March 4, 2011

The committee responsible for planning the 2011 Newcastle Days celebration has convened, and this year’s celebration will be Sept. 9 and 10.

The organizing committee is seeking volunteers to help with preparations.

The Friday and Saturday celebration will be similar to that of 2010, with a sidewalk sale in the downtown area the first day followed by festivities in Lake Boren Park the second day.

This year’s celebration in the park will feature a beer garden sponsored by the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, live bands, vendor booths, main stage entertainment and food. This year’s celebration will likely include a car show as well, which has historically been a staple of Newcastle Days, although it was not part of last year’s celebration.

“We were so pleased with how it went last year,” Parks Commissioner Diane Lewis, who will work on the organizing committee again this year, said of the two-day event. “We’re looking to do it as well or better this year.”

Once again, this year’s organizing committee is mostly volunteer-driven with Parks Commission Vice Chair Koleen Morris at the helm.

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Work plans approved for 2011 planning, parks commissions

March 4, 2011

The City Council approved the 2011 Parks Commission and Planning Commissions work plans with a 7-0 vote at its March 1 meeting.

Drafts of the work plans were first presented at the Feb. 15 joint City Council, Parks Commission and Planning Commission meeting.

This year, the Parks Commission will review the city’s comprehensive plan — which details the city’s vision — updating the parks, recreation and open space portions. The city needs to update its comprehensive plan every six years to be eligible for state grants. The plan has not been updated in eight years.

The Parks Commission will also discuss ways to increase recreational opportunities, possibly through collaboration with the Coal Creek YMCA and Regency Newcastle.

The commission will take an active role in community events once again this year, as well as in Newcastle Days. In the third and fourth quarters of the year, the Parks Commission will create a draft of trail construction standards and a public art policy.

The Planning Commission will review the city’s community business center for the first and second quarter of the year.

It will discuss issues such as the city’s restriction on drive-thrus, the city’s 75-foot building-height limit and floor-area-ratio density requirements.

The Planning Commission will work on the review through the second quarter of the year. In the second and third quarter, the Planning Commission will discuss possibly allowing greater used of impervious surfaces in the city’s mixed-use development zones north of Lake Boren and northeast of the Newcastle Golf Club Road and Newcastle Way intersection.

It will also discuss allowing more impervious surfaces in open spaces, such as in the site of the future sports park north of Southeast 95th Way. City code states that only 2 percent of open space may contain impervious surfaces, such as asphalt pathways and parking lots.

In the third quarter, the commission will also propose amendments to the city’s comprehensive plan and discuss extending the city’s developer stimulus program, which delays development fee collection.

In the fourth quarter, the commission will perform its annual code cleanup and update its code regarding communication infrastructure.

The Parks Commission is a nine-person advisory body to the City Council that works on issues regarding city-owned parks. It works on park planning, park design, park construction, park and facility development, renovation, trails and paths, recreation programs and special community events, according to the city’s website.

The Parks Commission meets at 6 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month in Council Chambers, 13020 Newcastle Way.

The Planning Commission provides advice and makes recommendations to the City Council regarding the city’s comprehensive plan and development codes. It meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month in Council Chambers.

Parks and Planning Commission meetings are open to the public and have opportunities for public comment.

City council gives green light to dog park

February 4, 2011

Funding to be discussed this summer during budgeting process

The City Council voted 6-1 at its Feb. 1 meeting to move forward with building a dog park at the future sports park site on Southeast 95th Way.

The city will add the park to its capital projects and discuss funding when it begins work on the 2012 budget this summer.

The Parks Commission recommended to the council at its Jan. 12 meeting that an off-leash dog park be built at the future sports park site. It also noted that the council’s recommended budget of $25,000 would not be enough to build and maintain an off-leash park.

A park constructed at the future sports park site would likely be one or two acres, temporary and atop the grassy mound at the center of the site. It would need to be moved when construction begins on the sports park. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016.

The future sports park’s design calls for a one-third-acre, off-leash dog park on the east end of the property.

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Parks Commission welcomes new member

February 4, 2011

City Clerk Bob Baker swore in new Parks Commissioner Jesse Tam at the Jan. 12 Parks Commission meeting.

Tam will serve until Sept. 1, 2014.

Mayor John Dulcich appointed Tam to the position.

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Parks Commissions recommends dog park at sports park site

January 18, 2011

$25,000 ruled not enough to create, maintain potential park

NEW — 5 p.m. Jan. 18, 2011

After holding two public hearings, the Parks Commission unanimously passed a recommendation to the City Council Jan. 12  that an off-leash dog park be constructed at the site of the future sports park on Southeast 95th Way.

However, the commission also unanimously voted that the council’s recommended budget of $25,000 would not be enough to construct and maintain a dog park, given that it would only be enough to build a one-acre park and maintain it for one year.

City Manager Rob Wyman said the City Council will likely review the commission’s recommendation at its Feb. 1 meeting.

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Current park locations cannot host dog park

January 7, 2011

The Parks Commission should either find a suitable location for an off-leash dog park in the city or recommend to the City Council that no park be built in Newcastle at all.

The two locations still being considered — the southwest corner of Lake Boren Park and the future sports park to be off Southeast 95th Way — present issues significant enough to warrant disqualification as potential sites.

Olympus residents have expressed concern about the Lake Boren Park location. Some live a matter of yards away from the proposed dog park site, and have objected to side effects of what a dog park could bring, including noise and sanitation issues. These residents are concerned a park could aversely affect the value of their homes, and they might be right.

Many dog owners who would use an off-leash park — including those from the Newcastle organization Friends Embracing the Canine Heart — have rejected placing a dog park at the site of the future sports park, citing concerns with the site’s remoteness and its location near the city’s south limits. Thus, the city is likely to get little or no private financial assistance in constructing or maintaining a park here.

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And the Diamond Award winners are …

December 2, 2010

This year’s Diamond Awards were presented to outstanding members of the community Nov. 10 at The Golf Club at Newcastle.

In the youth category, awards were presented to Jeff Hansen and John Stiller for their work with Newcastle Weed Warriors, and Neil Chakravarty for his Eagle Scout project, which involved replacing 62 trails sign plates across the city.

The community service award was presented to Parks Commission Vice Chair Koleen Morris, who took the leading role in organizing this year’s Newcastle Days celebration.

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Parks Commission to hold dog park public hearing, make recommendation

December 2, 2010

The Parks Commission chose primary and secondary locations for a potential off-leash dog park in the city, and will hold a public hearing at its Dec. 8 meeting.

The commission chose the southwest corner of Lake Boren Park as its primary location, and the grassy field atop the mound at the site of the future sports park — to be off Southeast 95th Way — as its secondary location.

Although the commission had previously narrowed potential locations for an off-leash dog park to the north end of Lake Boren Park and the future sports park, the commission began considering alternative locations after a commission subcommittee met in October with representatives from the Newcastle group Friends Embracing the Canine Heart.

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