Downtown Park - Complete the Circle
Bellevue Downtown Park is one of the city's most popular parks, but the circular promenade and entry designed for it remain unfinished. With voter-approved funding from the 2008 Parks & Natural Areas Levy, the city is now working to "complete the circle."
The city has contracted with MacLeod Reckord Landscape Architects for design and engineering services for the project. Construction is tentatively scheduled to start in the summer 2015 and last approximately a year.
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 update 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. The scope of work for this contract includes the design, public outreach, permit assistance and construction assistance for:
Southeast Entrance and Circle:
- Completion of the canal, promenade, water features and allée of trees.
- Formal connection between Downtown Park and "Old Bellevue" (termination of 102nd Avenue Northeast).
- Terraced seating and event space, including stairways and accessible paths.
Consolidation of Parking:
- Expand the parking lot.
- Accommodate parallel parking spaces along 100th Avenue Northeast.
- Provide views into the park from the street, while providing easy access for users.
- Explore the feasibility and cost of an underground parking garage.
Landscape and Infrastructure Enhancements:
- Provide planting along the edges which will guide people to the park's entrances.
- Organize the landscaping in a manner that will provide the park user a sense of safety and visibility.
- Demolition of existing structures, including the Ballet Arts building.
- Integration of the Bellevue Rotary Inspiration Playground and picnicking area.
The city has contracted with MacLeod Reckord Landscape Architects for the design and engineering services for the "complete the circle" project.
The city and design team are currently undergoing schematic design and preparing for all permitting services for the project. Construction is tentatively scheduled to start in the summer 2015 and last for approximately a year.
1997 Downtown Park Master Plan Update