Downtown Park - Complete the Circle
NOTE: The intersection at NE 1st Street and 102nd Avenue NE will continue to be closed to vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians through May 17 for intersection and pedestrian crossing improvements. See details.
The Downtown Park is coming "full circle"!
Ohno Construction began construction on both the Complete the Circle and Inspiration Playground projects on July 11. Construction is anticipated to be complete in June 2017. During the construction period, the southern half of the Downtown Park will be closed to public access. Parking will be available at the new 100th Avenue NE parking lot; however, there will be intermittent closures to the parking lot and to the northern half of the Downtown Park.
Status - construction
Project Graphics & Plans
Construction has been moving forward, despite the significant rain and extremely cold weather. Ohno Construction is steadily making progress. Although there is still plenty of work to be done, Ohno has completed just over 50% and is still on schedule for completion before the annual 4th of July celebration in the Downtown Park.
This period's construction highlights include:
- 100th Avenue Parking - This area has been open for public use. This lot will be intermittently closed in order to complete the parking lot work, including the final layer of asphalt paving, new striping, installation of wheel stops, and landscaping.
- The concrete walls and stairs from the new parking lot in the Inspiration Playground area are complete. There are a couple of concrete seat walls and foundation for the "whimsy tree" that will be poured shortly.
- The terrace seating walls are 95% done, and grading should begin shortly to fill in behind the walls and create the seating area.
- The new canal excavation has started, and the precast concrete pieces will be delivered to the site in the coming weeks.
- Erosion control and coping with the amount of water on site has continued to challenge Ohno. They have covered most of the roughly-graded areas with plastic sheets and are using the existing pond for water detention.
- The sidewalk along 100th Avenue NE and the new entry plaza in the southwest corner are approximately 99% done. We are working with the city's traffic engineers on the layout of the lighting along 100th Avenue NE.
- The main concrete path from 100th Avenue NE through the new parking lot and into the interior of the Circle was just finished being poured and will cure for the next couple of days.
- The play equipment in the Inspiration Playground has started to be installed, including the concrete sculptural climbing wall.
- The expansion of the restroom building for the water spray mechanical equipment is 75% complete.
- The trenching and conduits for the in-ground uplights around the promenade have been installed. Care for the existing London Plane tree roots was addressed by the use of an air-spade for trenching.
- The entire concrete plaza at the pond has been installed. It is easy to imagine that this new feature will be well used!
- The new concrete stairs and waterfall/fountain at the south entry is being installed. Concrete should be complete in this area in the next few weeks.
In the early 1980s, shortly after acquiring property from the school district, the city conducted an international design competition for Bellevue Downtown Park. A park committee judged 67 entries and selected a concept submitted by the firm of Beckley-Meyers. Elements of the Beckley-Meyers design included:
- circular promenade for walking;
- central open space;
- allée of trees bordering the promenade;
- continuous canal terminating in a waterfall, cascades and reflecting pool; and
- small park venues (between street and promenade) for activities - including a formal garden, outdoor performance space, picnicking area and children's play area.
In 1984 the City Council approved a Downtown Park master plan, which incorporated the Beckley-Meyers design and laid out several phases of construction for developing the park. Parts of the plan, including the circular promenade, were not completed. The unfinished portion of the circle functions as a vehicular entrance and parking area. Additionally, a portion of the area identified for expanded parking along the west edge of the park is occupied by the Ballet Arts building, which has been rented to a local dance troupe.
In 1997, confronted with a variety of competing interests for Downtown Park, the city was compelled to conduct a public process to determine if the master plan still met the city's needs. Although some details were modified, the 1997 Master Plan Graphic and Report retained and reaffirmed Downtown Park's design and purpose.
In 2008, Bellevue citizens passed the Parks & Natural Areas Levy that approved funding to complete additional phases of the Downtown Park master plan, including completion of the circular promenade, entry and water feature.
On March 26, 2015, an open house was held at City Hall to share the designs for the Downtown Park with Bellevue residents. Following an exhaustive permitting process and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) determination challenge, the development and land use permits were finally approved in March 2016. This unintended delay of permit approvals allowed for a planned Downtown Park playground improvement project, Inspiration Playground, to "catch up" with the Complete the Circle project. Both projects were combined into a single construction project.
Working closely with the City, the Bellevue Rotary Club had proposed a partnership project to expand the existing Downtown Park playground with a focus on inclusive, accessible play opportunities - Inspiration Playground. Bellevue Rotary has strongly endorsed the playground concept, and continues fundraising to pay for the construction of Inspiration Playground. If you would like more information about, or would like to contribute funds to Inspiration Playground, please visit the project's web page.
In May 2016, the City undertook an open and competitive public bidding process to select a general contractor for the Downtown Park projects. Ohno Construction was selected as the lowest responsible bidder. Ohno Construction has been in business since 1966 and has successfully constructed park and athletic facilities in Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.
Project Graphics and Plans