Bothell keeps massive urban park as housing boom continues

BOTHELL, Wash. -- Over the last few years, there has been a housing boom all over Bothell.

But people in the community recently fought back against a plan to develop the former Wayne Golf Course.

From a distance it still looks like you can tee off there and aim for greens off the Sammamish river. But if you look a little closer you’ll see dogs and people who would never consider picking up a golf club.

“I think it’s incredible to have this much open space,” said Perry Clawson as he walked his dog Angus around the area. “In a metropolitan area like this there is not a lot of free range area for a dog to take off in so this is great.”

Perry and Angus have plenty of room to roam. The property is almost 90 acres, and Bothell’s newest park.

“It could be used for many different things,” said James McNeal, a Bothell city councilor. “Not only for the city of Bothell but for the region. It’s one of the last remaining pieces of big open space along a river so it’s a very special place.”

There are plans to connect several trails around the park, while removing invasive plants and restoring salmon to the river.

“You can mountain bike, run, walk, and birdwatch,” said Tracey Perkosky, the interim parks director. “One of most common requests is an off leash dog park.”

All great ideas, but a few years back, developers had their own ideas for the property, as they eyed it for luxury townhomes.

Backlash in Bothell was quick.

McNeal helped found the group OneBothell, with one goal: to keep it a natural space.  They eventually convinced the city to purchase the property.

“What is important is that we save this for future generations and allow them to be able to use it for what they want to use it for,” said McNeal.

So a golf course gives way to a massive urban park. And the city is keeping the public in the game, asking them to help name the new spot and also design it.

“I’d like to see them keep it kind of wild,” said Perry Clawson, as he walked Angus down what was once the 8th fairway. “I hope over time it doesn’t look like a golf course. Let the grass grow, let the weeds come up, and just let it be kind of wild again.”