Park Hills Park Assessment
In 2021, the City of Kennewick is assessing citizen use and maintenance needs of Park Hills Park, a private park located at 1607 S. Olympia Pl. To determine the future of the private park, the Kennewick Parks and Recreation Commission will collect public input, survey citizens, estimate the cost of needed improvements, seek an entity to assume maintenance and liability of the park, consider decommissioning the private park, and report its findings to City Council.
- March 25, 2021: Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting (6p) to outline public outreach efforts. No determinations will be made. Zoom meeting link
- March-May 15, 2021: Park use survey Tell us about park use so the Commission can make an informed recommendation.
- April 22, 2021: Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting (6p). Visitors are provided an opportunity to speak. Zoom meeting link
- May 1, 2021: Neighborhood meeting at Park Hills Park 11a-1p. Let Commissioners know what you think about the park.
- June 24, 2021: Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting (6p). Visitors are provided an opportunity to speak, the Commission will discuss all public input to date, and determine its recommendation. If virtual, a Zoom link will be posted here by June 15. If phased reopening guidelines allow, in-person meetings take place at City Hall, 210 W. 6th Ave.
- July-August 2021: Recommendation to City Council on park maintenance and operation. Council meeting dates and times to discuss the recommendation will be announced here. All Council meeting agendas and minutes can be found in the Agenda Center.
Through an agreement established in 1992, the City committed to support the development of the private park on two vacant lots in exchange for year-around maintenance provided by the now defunct Park Hills Park Committee. The land, acquired by the City through a Local Improvement District foreclosure in 1987, was originally intended to be sold. Instead, for nearly two decades, neighborhood committee volunteers cut the grass weekly, serviced the trash, managed the irrigation system, controlled weeds, and maintained the playground and basketball court. In 2005, with waning participation, the committee requested the City take over maintenance. In response to the dissolution of the volunteer committee thereafter, neighborhood outreach was conducted in 2013. No new entity was established to take over the park maintenance, so the City of Kennewick has been maintaining Park Hills Private Park since.
As outlined in its Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan, the City of Kennewick strives to provide parks, recreational amenities, or access to school recreation facilities within a half mile of every resident. In addition to Park Hills Middle School and Park Hills Park, neighbors in this area are in proximity to two public parks: Jay Perry Park (1201 S. Newport St.) and Kenwood Park (2013 S. Garfield St.). The Comprehensive Plan also specifies a minimum park size of 5 acres. The two lots that make up Park Hills Park equate to .46 acres. As stewards of public funds, the Parks and Recreation Commission is carefully considering the use of and cost to maintain the safety of all of these assets. As recommended in the Comprehensive Plan, park cost reduction and funding strategies include decommissioning/selling underutilized land in areas where recreation needs are already being met.
It’s the City’s goal to be thorough and thoughtful in considering the future of Parks Hills Park. Options include establishing an agreement between the City and an incorporated entity to assume maintenance and liability of the private Park Hills Park, identifying funding for improvements to maintain the safety of the park and its equipment, and decommissioning the park. Please complete the park use survey and provide input during one of the outreach opportunities.
If the private park were to be decommissioned, the zoning designation of the two parcels will remain residential low, restricting future development to one single family home per parcel.