A new children’s playground, paved pump track, bird-watching blinds, fenced off-leash dog park, art installations and additional points of access and parking will be some of the new features in the upgraded Wards Lake Park. The range of new features in this underutilized 27-acre urban park in Lakewood’s International District aims to meet the needs of the surrounding community which is known to be greatly neglected in access to parks and recreational amenities. The City’s Park and Recreation Master Plan has identified the neighborhood’s surrounding Wards Lake Park as an area anticipating population growth and a high priority area for upgrades to improve level of service, diversity of activities and quality of park experiences.
Currently, the park is overgrown with invasive plant species and waterways clogged with sedimentation from years of incoming stormwater. The park is home to several biomes which provide the opportunity to increase visitors’ awareness of natural systems as well as the wildlife that inhabits these unique ecosystems. The park is characterized as a natural area with a 6.34-acre lake, extensive emergent wetlands, upland forest, rare native Gamble oak prairie, and open lawn areas. The proposed upgrades will expand and improve the critical wetland areas; conserve open water on the lake surface – as requested by the community; enhance upland forest and native oak-prairie habitat areas; create a 1-mile ADA accessible loop trail through the park; and enhance pedestrian safety improvements at the main entry that will allow connectivity to the adjacent Skip Vaughn Trail Corridor.
Location: Lakewood, WA
Client: City of Lakewood