Big plans for Community Green
By ELISABETH MURRAY
Whidbey Examiner Staff
September 21, 2012 · Updated 10:52 AM
Shoppers at the Coupeville Farmers Market on Saturday had a chance to weigh in on the future of the community green, the grassy field behind the public library that is owned by the Town of Coupeville.
The green is used for the weekly market from April through mid-October as well as special events and parking during large events such as the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival.
At Saturday’s open house, people looked over drawings of the three alternative master plan proposals for the almost four-acre property. Landscape Architect Craig Lewis of JGM Landscape Architects in Bellevue designed the proposals with input from a local committee that brainstormed ideas.
The consensus of the committee is to keep the area looking like an open field, but improve upon it for use during special events and for overflow parking, according to Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard .
The plans were tacked onto the walls of the Holbrook Outbuilding, a historic barn-like structure donated by Dan Miranda and transported to the site last spring from its previous location a few blocks east.
Each of the proposals includes the intention to leave a central open multi-use space, Lewis said. What varies is the different locations for certain elements, such as a playground or restrooms, he said.
Two locations have been proposed for the play area, either at the south end of the property near the neighborhood or at the northwest corner. The restroom could either be separate from the Holbrook Outbuilding or integrated into the structure.
Although the proposals show several locations for the outbuilding, a permanent site for the structure has already been selected. The building was moved in March onto the green next to the parking lot in order for Miranda to begin construction on a residence where the structure had previously been situated.
A small deck for performances was also proposed.
People who looked at the drawings were encouraged to share their opinions on the plans either verbally, in writing or by e-mail.
The firm will compile and review the responses in the next few days, Lewis said. He said he will look at which alternative the public prefers – and why. In particular, he will determine if the support is for the proposal in its entirety or if there are particular aspects within the proposal that people seem to appreciate.
“The best and most attractive elements of all the different plans often become a fourth proposal, which may ultimately become the draft master plan,” Lewis said.
Lewis said that he hopes to have a draft of the master plan done within a month and anticipates that the final plan could be approved as soon as three months from now if minimal changes are needed in the draft.
“There is nothing controversial being proposed here (for any of the plans),” Lewis said, explaining that the improvements would not change the character of the area.
One improvement included in all the proposals is to treat the water coming off of the parking area, Lewis said. Stormwater runoff from the property affects the water quality in Penn Cove, he said.
Once the master plan has been adopted, the town will be in a better position to solicit grant money to implement the plan or phases of the plan, he said.
The town council approved a contract with the landscape architecture firm to design the master plan in February 2011. The cost of developing the plan is capped at $19,000.
The property that’s now home to the Community Green was purchased in early 2000 from Cecil Stuurmans.